USA states to file new suit challenging Trump healthcare subsidy cut

Cheryl Sanders
October 14, 2017

He says his office's suit will contend that the Affordable Care Act is a law, and that the cost sharing reduction payments are integral to maintaining the law.

The subsidy payments help patients offset out-of-pocket medical costs, but President Trump deemed them unconstitutional bailouts for the insurance industry and announced he would be ending them immediately. While the payments go to the insurance companies, the consumers benefit because the savings are passed on to them in the form of lower deductibles, copays and prescription costs.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told reporters that Trump's decision to halt the payments could increase costs up to 20 percent, meaning millions of families will find themselves unable to access healthcare. The subsidies could only be funded through a specific congressional appropriation, Sessions concluded, echoing legal arguments that House Republicans previously made in court against the subsidies.

Becerra said the lawsuit is aimed at preserving the cost-sharing payments and preventing people from losing financial assistance to cover health care costs.

Schneiderman said Trump based his decision on guidance from the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services that there were no direct provisions in law calling for the cost reduction payments. The subsidies cost $7 billion this year, and were estimated to cost $10 billion in 2018. "It is sabotage plain and simple, and President Trump's price hikes to Americans' health insurance are hiding in plain sight", Becerra said during a conference call with the attorneys general of the other states involved in the lawsuit. Those suits could be filed in the Court of Federal Claims, which handles cases in which litigants believe they have not been paid by the federal government. "It's past time President Trump learned he doesn't get to pick and choose which laws he'll follow and which bills he'll pay".

"This is a reckless and cruel decision", Schneiderman said of Trump's decision.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks in Los Angeles on September 12, 2017.

Becerra said it was not clear yet how many other states would join the lawsuit.

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