President Donald Trump on Monday claimed that the Affordable Care Act, the law also known as Obamacare, is “dead.”
“Obamacare is finished, it’s dead, it’s gone, you shouldn’t even mention it, it’s gone,” Trump said at a meeting of his Cabinet. “There’s no such thing as Obamacare anymore.”
Trump’s statement came the week after he made a series of moves to change parts of the law, including an executive order designed to allow people to sign up for health plans outside of the Obamacare exchanges and end the cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments under the law.
On the latter move, Trump once again claimed that the CSR payments were a “bailout” for insurers designed by Democrats.
“Knocked out CSRs, as you know, that was a subsidy to the insurance companies, that was frankly a gift,” Trump said Monday.
The payments were designed to help defray costs to insurers for providing insurance plans with lower out-of-pocket costs, which is mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected, however, that the end of CSRs will actually lead to higher federal government spending, since insurance companies would increase premiums to compensate for the loss of CSRs. In turn, higher premiums would be offset by increased subsidies for marketplace enrollees funded by the federal government.
Trump told the assembled group of Cabinet members and reporters that Republicans and Democrats are meeting on a short-term fix for the CSR payments and the exchanges because he stopped the payments. However, talks between senators on both sides of the aisle have been ongoing for nearly two months.
“In my opinion what’s happening is that as we meet, Republicans are meeting with Democrats because of what I did with the CSRs because I cut off the gravy train,” Trump said. “If I didn’t cut off the CSRs, they wouldn’t be meeting. They’d be enjoying lunch by themselves.”
Health policy experts say Trump’s recent actions could threaten the law’s future.
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