- President Trump tweeted that he supports GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander “as a person,” but that he can’t support a key part of the bipartisan Obamacare package he helped craft.
- Trump has called the component in question, cost-sharing reduction payments, a “bail out” for health insurers.
- Trump seemed to support the package at first on Tuesday, but has been backing down from that support since Tuesday evening.
President Donald Trump added to confusion over the new Obamacare stabilisation package in a tweet on Wednesday, saying he “could not support” a key part of the plan.
“I am supportive of Lamar as a person & also of the process, but I can never support bailing out ins co’s who have made a fortune w/ O’Care,” the president tweeted.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican and chair of the Health, Education, Labour, and Pensions Committee, announced that he and Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat and ranking member of the committee, reached a deal on a bill Tuesday after roughly two months of negotiating.
As part of that deal, the cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments in the Affordable Care Act (the formal name for Obamacare) would be funded through 2019. The CSRs help defray costs to insurers since the companies are mandated to provide plans with low out-of-pocket costs to poorer Americans.
For the last few years, CSR payments have been paid through the executive branch, a practice that was challenged by the Republican-controlled House. A judge ruled in 2016 that the way CSRs were paid was illegal, but the ruling was challenged by the Obama administration. Trump decided to drop that challenge and discontinue the payments Thursday.
To solve this issue, the Alexander-Murray plan included the payments, but Trump has painted CSRs a “bail out” for insurers in the days since his decision to end them.
Despite their inclusion in the bipartisan deal, Trump appeared supportive of the plan when asked about it at a press conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday.
“So they are indeed working, but it is a short-term solution so that we don’t have this very dangerous little period — including dangerous periods for insurance companies, by the way,” Trump said. “For a period of one year, two years, we will have a very good solution.”
Later, in a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Trump appeared to walk back his support for the package somewhat.
“While I commend the bipartisan work done by Senators Alexander and Murray — and I do commend it — I continue to believe Congress must find a solution to the Obamacare mess instead of providing bailouts to insurance companies,” Trump said Tuesday night.
A White House spokesperson told Business Insider that the tweet on Wednesday represented the president’s position.
At the same time, however, Alexander said that Trump was supportive of the plan and helped craft it.
“Trump completely engineered the plan that we announced yesterday,” Alexander said at an Axios event Wednesday morning.
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