Trumpcare, the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, is in danger of not getting passed by the Senate. Republicans can only afford 2 dissenting votes and so far 3 GOP Senators have publicly stated they will vote ‘no’, and at least 5 others have expressed serious concerns.
Trump’s White House, being the morally and ethically upstanding people that they are (sarcasm intended), indicates they are willing to sabotage insurance of low-income Americans out of spite should the bill not pass. Press Secretary Sean Spicer signaled that the Trump administration is willing to use low-income Americans’ health insurance as a bargaining chip to persuade Congress to pass Trumpcare, which will result in tens of millions of Americans losing their health insurance.
Spicer detailed the administration’s position in response to a question about whether the Trump administration will cover next month’s cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments for low-income people who purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. As ThinkProgress has previously detailed, the payments “partially subsidize deductibles and co-payments for more than 7 million low-income Americans, making it possible for many of them to afford their insurance. Cutting off the payments could potentially kick millions of people off the state exchanges, pushing some private insurers to withdraw as well. Premiums could shoot up across the board.”
Spicer made clear that the Trump administration willing to whatever it takes to continue to destabilize Obamacare exchanges by only committing to CSR payments one month at a time.
“We committed to making them last month, and that’s as far as we will go at this time,” Spicer said. “We’re not committing to them this month.”
Then Spicer said the “dynamic” will change if the Senate passes Trumpcare, which clearly shows the Trump administration is willing to sabotage low-income Americans care bill, holding them hostage until the Senate passes the bill.
“If we can pass health care overall, then that changes the dynamic,” Spicer said. “It will ultimately be up to the president to decide.”
Spicer then made an explicitly political case for why Trump won’t commit to making the CSR payments — an assurance that would undermine the administration’s ongoing effort to blow up Obamacare by encouraging insurance companies to continue to offer plans on the exchanges.
“If the president were to hypothetically say he’s going to make the payments in perpetuity or for a year, I think that continues to prop up a failed system and continues to do wrong by the American taxpayer and it also doesn’t lend itself to the expediency that I think we want to help get a new health care system in place,” he said.
Trump himself alluded to ending the CSR payments in a tweet yesterday in which he threatened to let Obamacare “crash & burn!”
In a May interview with The Economist, Trump suggested he will eventually stop paying CSRs:
“[T]here is no Obamacare, it’s dead. Plus we’re subsidizing it and we don’t have to subsidize it. You know if I ever stop wanting to pay the subsidies, which I will,” Trump said. “Anytime I want.”
Donald Trump and the Republican party are willing to gamble with people’s lives to maintain political power. Wow. Just, wow.