April 17, 2017

CHANGE? Trump’s message to Democrats: Negotiate Obamacare, or payments to insurers will be cut.

President Trump is threatening to cut off critical Obamacare payments to insurers unless Democrats come to the table to negotiate a new health care bill, taking a tough negotiating stance that could force Democratic leaders into a government shutdown by month’s end.

At stake are “cost sharing” payments that Obamacare backers say are supposed to be made to insurance companies to cover their losses from low-income customers.

A federal court has invalidated the payments, saying the Obama administration spent the money even though Congress specifically stripped the funds from its annual spending bills.

The government is still making the payments pending an appeal of the case, but Mr. Trump hinted last week that he would halt the payments himself, forcing Obamacare into a quick death unless Democrats agree to negotiate over major changes to the Affordable Care Act.

“If Congress doesn’t approve it, or if I don’t approve it, that would mean that Obamacare doesn’t have enough money, so it dies immediately as opposed to over a period of time,” he told The Wall Street Journal.

Alternately, Trump could hit them where it really hurts:

Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at the South Texas College of Law, said that if Mr. Trump truly wants leverage, then he should cancel an Obama-era rule that lets members of Congress and their staff keep their federal health care subsidies, even though they are mandated by law to use Obamacare’s exchanges.

Don’t let Congress get away with breaking the law, Mr. President!