Chuck (Senate Minority Leader Schumer) and Nancy (House Minority Leader Pelosi) called Trump’s latest move to undo one of many Obamacare faux pas “a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage.” Democrats and progressives alike claimed myriad maladies resulting from Trump’s not paying subsidies to insurance companies.
Way back in 2010, Democrats failed to add recurring “cost sharing” payments to insurance companies that help cover deductibles or co-pays for customers below 250 percent of poverty level. Obamacare made these payments contingent on an annual appropriation, and Congress stopped appropriating these subsidies in 2014.
As long as Obama was in the White House, Democrats did not have to worry about sending billions of dollars to their favorite insurance companies. In a Constitution-be-damned move, the former president said, “Don’t worry about it! I have a pen!” And, Obama ordered federal expenditures that had not been appropriated by Congress!
In a move that surprised no one, early Friday morning Trump tweeted, “The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding” and “subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped.” Actually, Trump had forewarned this move way back on July 29 in a tweet: “If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”
Eric Hargan, Health and Human Services Acting Secretary, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma explained Obama’s constitutional ineptness in a statement last week:
“The Obama Administration unfortunately went ahead and made CSR payments to insurance companies after requesting – but never ultimately receiving – an appropriation from Congress as required by law. In 2014, the House of Representatives was forced to sue the previous Administration to stop this unconstitutional executive action. In 2016, a federal court ruled that the Administration had circumvented the appropriations process, and was unlawfully using unappropriated money to fund reimbursements due to insurers.”
By the way, subsidies to members of Congress were not in Obamacare either. What will Chuck and Nancy do if Trump stops their “cost-sharing” payments?
President Trump, in moves reminiscent of President Obama, has been using his own pen to reverse many of the penned actions of his predecessor. Last week Trump also asked federal agencies to loosen rules so associations and other groups could offer insurance plans, allow short-term plans, and allow sales of health plans across state lines.
These moves will have little if any effect this year. Obamacare has been a disaster in America’s medical communities. Health insurance rates have skyrocketed. Obamacare exchanges have no competition in one-third of American counties. The Democrats’ unilateral plan to force every American to purchase an expensive health insurance plan, or pay the tax man for not complying with the federal mandate is imploding just as predicted from the beginning.
One would hope that Trump’s unilateral “pen” actions will spur the knuckleheads on Capitol Hill to giddy up. Democrats created the Obamacare monster. John Roberts’ Supreme Court kept it alive. And, the Republican establishment should be sued for malpractice for failing to heal it or kill it. They are all the problems.
Finally, I agree top one-percenters should pay 100 percent of their annual incomes in taxes. This act alone would give NFL kneelers, career politicians, and media elite real reasons to go into hyperbolic hissy fits! Americans are tired of fake reality shows.
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, Miss. He can be reached at PJandMe2@hotmail.com.