Democratic Representative Joseph Crowley (N.Y.) accused President Donald Trump of “political blackmail” for warning Democrats of withholding Obamacare funds that lower healthcare costs for poor Americans.
The head of the House Democratic Caucus claimed that the recent suggestion that President Trump may stop insurance subsidies, amounting to billions of dollars, to force Democrats to negotiate a health care reform “is a blatant attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act and manufacture a crisis.”
“Rather than improving our country’s healthcare system, President Trump is bent on destroying it,” Crowley said. “His most recent threat — to raise premiums for millions of Americans by withholding the law’s Cost Sharing Reduction payments — amounts to nothing more than political blackmail.”
“This,” he added, “is not leadership.”
House GOP leaders and Trump, witnessed a stunning failure last month, when they tried to pass their Obamacare repeal proposal which was met with fierce opposition from both centrist and conservative Republicans. In a bid to give his proposal a fresh boost, this week, Trump hinted at acting unilaterally to cancel Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction payments, or subsidies, which reimburse insurance providers that curtail deductibles for low-income patients. The program is forecasted to compensate insurance providers up to $7 billion this year.
Abolishing the cost-sharing reduction could force insurance companies to quite Obamacare altogether, upsetting the legislation’s marketplaces and potentially leaving millions of poor Americans all over the country without any insurance cover.
Meanwhile, Trump has repeatedly said that Obamacare will eventually collapse under its own weight. He hinted that the resulting mayhem will compel Democrats to reconsider their opposition to the Republicans’ healthcare proposals.
“I don’t want people to get hurt,” Trump said in an interview on with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. “What I think should happen — and will happen — is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.”
President Trump’s comments came in the middle of a lengthy congressional recess that noted that several GOP lawmakers are facing heated opposition at home, over their plans to rip into pieces former President Obama’s signature healthcare legislation.