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Top Democrats scolded President Donald Trump on Thursday night after the White House announced the president would end cost-sharing reduction payments, a crucial subsidy designed to help low-income people afford health insurance.
The CSR payments were introduced by the Affordable Care Act to offset the cost to insurers that offer affordable plans to poor Americans. Without the subsidy, which Congress never authorized and which Republicans have called illegal, insurers would most likely raise premiums.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer decried the move in a joint statement Thursday night. “Sadly, instead of working to lower health costs for Americans, it seems President Trump will single-handedly hike Americans’ health premiums,” they said.
Pelosi and Schumer called the move a “spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America.”
“Make no mistake about it, Trump will try to blame the Affordable Care Act, but this will fall on his back and he will pay the price for it,” they said.
It is Trump’s latest attempt to dismantle the ACA, the healthcare law better known as Obamacare. Trump earlier Thursday signed an executive order calling for the introduction of lower-cost, loosely regulated health plans, a move designed to unravel Obamacare. The president’s moves follow months of failed attempts by the Republican-controlled Congress to agree on a replacement for Obamacare, a key campaign promise of Trump’s.
Trump has publicly bristled over his party’s repeated failure to get a healthcare bill to his desk and has previously threatened to take unilateral steps to undermine President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement.
Read the Schumer-Pelosi statement in full below:
“Sadly, instead of working to lower health costs for Americans, it seems President Trump will single-handedly hike Americans’ health premiums. It is a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America. Make no mistake about it, Trump will try to blame the Affordable Care Act, but this will fall on his back and he will pay the price for it.
“President Trump has apparently decided to punish the American people for his inability to improve our health care system. Trumpcare collapsed because Americans overwhelmingly recognized the cruelty and higher costs it meant for them and their loved ones. Now, millions of hard-working American families will suffer just because President Trump wants them to.
“If these reports are true, the President is walking away from the good faith, bipartisan Alexander-Murray negotiations and risking the health care of millions of Americans.”