The Trump administration announced Thursday that billions of dollars in payments to health insurers will end. President Donald Trump has been making the payments each month to subsidize coverage under Obamacare since he took office in January.
Administration officials have concluded that the payments to health insurance companies that subsidize health care for low-income Americans are unlawful.
How much money are we talking here?
A lot. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies were forced to lower their prices and offer additional plans with the promise that the government would cover the bill. These subsidies are estimated to cost $130 billion by 2026.
What are people saying?
Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi have called the move “a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America” in a joint statement.
The truth is unpleasant but less extreme. Tl;dr – health insurers say the move will disrupt insurance markets and raise the cost of premiums. More insurers may pull out of the Obamacare exchange.
Obamacare isn’t working – that’s clear when 45 counties are on track to have no insurer in the ACA marketplace next year. But the bottom line with Obamacare insurance subsidies is that the taxpayer-funded payout has been unlawful for all these years.
In 2016, a federal judge ruled that Obamacare subsidies were unconstitutional because the administration never obtained an appropriation from Congress.
“A federal judge has already said this is stolen money,” Glenn said.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
GLENN: Obamacare. Obamacare, like all welfare state programs had a significant problem when it was passed. And that is: How are you going to pay for any of this?
So what they did was they came up with a cost-sharing reduction. It’s called a CSR. Those were the subsidies. That was the answer. Insurance companies were forced to lower prices and offer additional plans. But don’t worry, the federal government is going to cut a check. And we’re going to pay you for all those losses.
This year, that dollar amount is $10 billion. It’s expected to grow to 130 billion by 2026. Now, how are you going to pay for it?
Congress put this act in, but never authorized the funds. Congress has the purse strings. So here’s what you’re going to hear today: This is reported on and debated on. You’re going to hear all kinds of things. This is going to hurt the poor. It’s going to make people’s insurance rates go up, et cetera, et cetera.
All of those things may be true, but what you have to understand is a federal judge has already said this is stolen money. Stolen from you and the United States Treasury. It is completely unconstitutional and completely illegal.
Billions of dollars have already been stolen from — from you. And me. And the Treasury. Every year. And no one has made a move to stop it. If Donald Trump didn’t, it would have continued unabated. Stealing money from the Treasury. I thought that was a crime.
When the ACA was passed, Obama asked Congress to appropriate the money for the subsidies, but they never did. So as any true progressive does, I’m just going to take the money anyway. The Constitution is specific on this. That drawing money from the treasury, without congressional appropriation is a federal crime.
Insurance companies receiving these subsidies the past seven years have been receiving stolen funds. And, quite honestly, they are knowingly accomplices in that theft.
Now, this is not the narrative you’re going to see today in the news or on Capitol Hill. The internet headlines: Trump undermines Obama. Even, my favorite: Sabotage. Capital letters, in multiple exclamation marks. Not theft.
New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman has already made a statement that his office will lead a lawsuit to fight this move.
Now, this is — the irony here is beyond belief. His job is to uphold the rule of law. But he’s pursuing a lawsuit aimed at ensuring that the law continues to be broken.
I know this hurts, and I know nobody wants to say this anymore. But we are a nation of laws. If we are not, we are a nation where any thug or dictator can do whatever they want. We are not a nation that makes exceptions for illegal acts, because I don’t know, we got to do something.
The loudest voices on this today will be Democratic congressmen. Never mind the fact that this was their fault to begin with. It would have been a lot easier than having the executive branch steal the money. And had the executive branch do their dirty work. It would have been a lot easier if they just would have given the money. But they didn’t.
Maybe — maybe if we stop, all those progressives that want this money, maybe they’ll try to do it right, next time. You know, the legal way.