Physician Groups Condemn Trump Insurer Decision

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Donald Trump and health care (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

Six physician groups are condemning a Trump administration decision to halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law.

Their statement Friday calls on Congress to act immediately to restore the payments to prevent what it called “dramatic, if not catastrophic, increases in premiums across the country” and millions of Americans losing coverage.

The groups represent more than 560,000 U.S. doctors and medical students. They are the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Osteopathic Association and the American Psychiatric Association.

The statement follows an announcement late Thursday. The White House says the government cannot legally continue to pay the so-called cost-sharing subsidies because it lacks formal authorization by Congress.


3:30 p.m.

At least a dozen states plan to sue President Donald Trump over his decision to stop payments that lower health insurance deductibles and co-pays for millions of Americans with modest incomes.

Attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts and New York are among those announcing they will file the lawsuit in federal court in California.

Trump said Thursday he would end the cost-sharing subsidies.

The attorneys general say Trump is not following federal law in ending a legally mandated system that already is operating.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said Trump’s action would raise health insurance prices enough that healthier people will flee the insurance markets, resulting in higher costs for those who remain.


2:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump is defending his decision to halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law.

Trump said as he left the White House Friday that the subsidies are “almost a payoff” to insurance companies to lift their stock prices instead of helping low-income people afford their premiums.

He says: “That money is a subsidy for insurance companies” and that he doesn’t “want to make the insurance companies rich.”

Trump is calling on Democrats to negotiate a deal with him.

He says: “What it’s going to do is there’s going to be time to negotiate health care that’s going to be good for everybody.”


1 p.m.

Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer says “threats and bullying” from President Donald Trump will not force Democrats to repeal the Obama health care law.

The New York Democrat tells reporters people will blame Republicans for the pain of Trump’s decision to halt federal payments to insurers.

Schumer says blocking those subsidies will cause higher premiums and prompt some insurers to stop selling policies. He says people “know full well which party is doing it.”

Schumer says Trump has “a decreased level of trust” with voters and congressional Democrats. He says Trump lacks leverage to force Democrats to make concessions.

The Democratic leader says there’ll be a good chance to restore the money in a bipartisan end-of-year spending bill


11:30 a.m.

The health insurance industry says the billions of dollars in “Obamacare” subsidies that President Donald Trump is halting are not a “bailout” that companies are using to line their coffers.

America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said in a joint statement Friday that the money goes to doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and other service providers to lower copays and deductibles for 6 million consumers.

“This action will make it harder for patients to access the care they need,” said the statement. “Costs will go up and choices will be restricted.”

The industry has been urging Congress to clear up a legal dispute over the money by formally directing the executive branch to make the monthly payments.


11:15 a.m.

A coalition of state attorneys general is planning to file suit Friday to try to block President Donald Trump from stopping billions of dollars in “Obamacare” subsidies for consumers.

The office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (hahv-YEHR’ beh-SEH’-rah) says the federal suit will argue that the Trump administration violated a law that requires government agencies to obey existing statutes and follow orderly and transparent procedures.

The state officials will also argue that the Trump administration violated the U.S. Constitution’s “Take Care Clause,” which requires the executive branch to faithfully execute laws.

The Trump administration announced late Thursday night it’s stopping subsidies for copays and deductibles. The president took to Twitter before dawn Friday to say the Obama health law is imploding and Democrats should call him to make a deal.


8:40 a.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is defending the Trump administration decision to stop making payments to insurers under the Obama health care law.

Sessions says on “Fox and Friends” that the Justice Department does not believe the government can spend the $7 billion for insurers because Congress never appropriated it.

The subsidies help lower copays and deductibles for people with modest incomes.

The White House said late Thursday that it would stop the payments. That’s expected to trigger a spike in premiums for next year, unless Trump reverses course or Congress authorizes the money.

Sessions says courts have found “the appropriation must come from Congress.” He says, “The president cannot do it.”


7:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is calling the so-called “Obamacare” law a “broken mess” after his move that’s likely to roil insurance markets.

Trump tweeted Friday that “piece by piece” his administration will begin the process of “giving America the great HealthCare it deserves!”

The White House said late Thursday it would immediately halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law.

The subsidies help lower copays and deductibles for people with modest incomes. Stopping the payments would trigger a spike in premiums for next year unless Trump reverses course or Congress authorizes the money.


5:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump is inviting congressional Democrats to “call me to fix” America’s health care system, as he prepares an order ceasing federal subsidy payments to health insurers.

In a pre-dawn post on his Twitter account Friday, the president reiterated his oft-stated argument that “Obamacare is imploding.”

Addressing Democrats, he tweeted that “massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!”

Since his presidential campaign and nearly nine months in office, Trump has persistently called for getting rid of the 2010 Obama law. His fellow Republicans joined him in that cause, but neither Trump nor the GOP has been able to muster sufficient strength to get the repeal bill through the Senate.


3:40 a.m.

In a brash move likely to roil insurance markets, President Donald Trump will “immediately” halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law he has been trying to unravel for months.

The Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement in a statement late Thursday. “We will discontinue these payments immediately,” said acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Medicare administrator Seema Verma. Sign-up season for subsidized private insurance starts Nov. 1, in less than three weeks, with about 9 million people currently covered.

In a separate statement, the White House said the government cannot legally continue to pay the so-called cost-sharing subsidies because they lack a formal authorization by Congress.

Oct 13 3:46 PM EDTAP


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