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 Health and Human Services department made the announcement in a statement late Thursday night. “We will discontinue these payments immediately,” said acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Medicare administrator Seema Verma.
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.
However, the administration had been making the payments from month to month, even as Trump threated to cut them off to force Democrats to negotiate over health care. The subsidies help lower copays and deductibles for people with modest incomes.
Halting the payments would trigger a spike in premiums for next year, unless Trump reverses course or Congress authorizes the money. The next payments are due around Oct. 20.
The top two Democrats in Congress sharply denounced the Trump plan in a joint statement.