Trump's Tweets Threaten To Destabilize Insurance Markets


The administration is now paying the subsidies on a monthly basis, leaving the industry anxious that Trump could end them at any time.

Frustrated by the failure of the Republican-controlled Congress to pass any bill repealing any part of the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump has threatened to take things into his own hands.

Once August 21 arrives, Congress will be as much to blame - and even more so, if he decides to continue the appeal, and it fails. Here's a look at Trump's claim, and the reality.

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"If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!" he tweeted on Saturday.

But he's onto something with his recent suggestion that Members of Congress should have to live under the health-care law they imposed on Americans.

A Senate victory on health care in the coming days would help Trump leave the drama of last week behind, during which Cabinet chief Reince Priebus quit, press secretary Sean Spicer resigned and Anthony Scaramucci moved in as White House communications director. But the provision was added under political pressure, to avoid the perception that lawmakers were writing a law for the public that they themselves would be able to avoid. Through the Office of Personnel Management, the administration developed a rule in 2013 saying members and their staffs could receive a government subsidy to purchase insurance through the District of Columbia's small business options program, or SHOP.

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But in targeting something as personal as lawmakers' family health insurance coverage, Trump is risking an angry backlash from Capitol Hill just when he needs lawmakers support to pass major tax reform, boost spending for defense and construction of a wall on the southern border, and revive GOP health care reform before the end of the year. In the case of Obamacare, lawmakers ended up with gold-plated coverage and a hefty government subsidy of roughly 75 percent of the monthly premium thanks to some deft maneuvering by Congress.

Not all members of Congress are on the D.C. exchange. Trump has weakened enforcement of Obamacare which requires individuals to buy insurance and sought to change plan benefits through regulations.

Harrison says he and his company filed two sets of proposed rates for policies sold on the insurance exchange next year.

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Although it's not completely clear what Trump is talking about by suggesting Obamacare should "hurt the insurance companies", it could be a reference to an ongoing issue of whether the Trump administration will continue cost-sharing payments to insurers. Trump and some administration officials have said at various points this year that they will cut off the payments, ignoring the requests of insurers, health care providers, governors and others to guarantee that the payments will be made for the time being.