States Lose Push to Force Trump to Restart Health Subsidies - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

States Lose Push to Force Trump to Restart Health Subsidies

Posted: 10/26/2017 09:16:00 -04:00 Updated:
In this July 24, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks about healthcare in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington. (Photo: AP) In this July 24, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks about healthcare in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington. (Photo: AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP)- A U.S. judge on Wednesday rejected a request from 18 states and the District of Columbia to force the Trump administration to resume paying "Obamacare" subsidies right away and scolded the coalition for claiming health care costs would rise without federal help.

State attorneys general, all Democrats and led by Xavier Becerra of California, argued that the monthly payments are required under former President Barack Obama's health care law and cutting them off will harm consumers. The payments reimburse insurers for providing lower-income people with discounts on out-of-pocket costs.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, an Obama appointee, said the states had devised workarounds to the lost subsidies that would give millions of lower-income people even better health care options.

That means the emergency order the states sought would be "counterproductive," the judge said.

The states should stop "yelling about higher premiums" and "focus instead on communicating the message that they have devised a response ... that will prevent harm to the large majority of people while in fact allowing millions of lower-income people to get a better deal on health insurance in 2018," Chhabria said.

The states had asked Chhabria to order the government to keep making the payments while their lawsuit works its way through the courts, which will take months. Becerra said he will continue to press the case.

"The fight for affordable health care moves forward," he said in a statement after the ruling. "The actions by the Trump Administration undermine critical payments that keep costs of health care affordable for working families."

President Donald Trump announced earlier this month that he will cut off the payments, saying Obama's law is imploding and criticizing the subsidies as insurance company bailouts. The White House says the government cannot legally continue paying them because there is no formal authorization from Congress.

The judge said in his ruling that the Trump administration had the stronger legal argument, though he cautioned that the question of whether Congress had permanently set aside money for the subsidies was "close and complicated."

Chhabria hammered an attorney for the state of California at a hearing this week over how the change would affect consumers.

Gregory Brown, who represented California, said the decision was creating "uncertainty and chaos" that could lead insurance companies to opt out of the health law. Brown also said it would "spook consumers."

Chhabria wasn't buying the argument. He said California and other states had anticipated the subsidies would end and found a way to ensure consumers would not pay more for insurance.

The states limited the plans for which insurers could hike premiums and ensured that many people will get more tax credits for their health insurance purchases, the judge said.

In his ruling, Chhabria cited an October press release by California's health care marketplace, which said the premiums of nearly four of five consumers will stay the same or decrease after surcharges tied to the lost subsidies are factored in. The judge said dozens of other states also have accounted for the end of the subsidies.

The payments reimburse insurers for the costs of lowering copays and deductibles, which they are required to do for low-income customers who buy coverage through the health care marketplaces created by Obama's law.

The states joining California in the lawsuit are: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, along with the District of Columbia.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Former Smyrna Middle Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex With Students

    Former Smyrna Middle Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex With Students

    11/20/2017 07:40:00 -05:002017-11-20 12:40:00 GMT
    Monday, November 20 2017 7:43 AM EST2017-11-20 12:43:02 GMT
    Karen BrooksKaren Brooks
    A former teacher at Smyrna Middle School in Delaware has pleaded guilty to fourth-degree rape after she admitted to a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old boy.More
    A former teacher at Smyrna Middle School in Delaware has pleaded guilty to fourth-degree rape after she admitted to a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old boy.More
  • Bridgeville Meth Bust Made In Transit

    Bridgeville Meth Bust Made In Transit

    11/19/2017 18:12:00 -05:002017-11-19 23:12:00 GMT
    Sunday, November 19 2017 6:12 PM EST2017-11-19 23:12:22 GMT
    Delaware State Police arrested a Greenwood man after a traffic stop revealed methamphetamine in the car.More
    Delaware State Police arrested a Greenwood man after a traffic stop revealed methamphetamine in the car.More
  • Shots Fired at Slaughter Beach Home

    Shots Fired at Slaughter Beach Home

    11/19/2017 20:14:00 -05:002017-11-20 01:14:00 GMT
    Sunday, November 19 2017 8:22 PM EST2017-11-20 01:22:52 GMT
    The Delaware State Police are currently investigating an incident in which shots were fired at a home on Bay Avenue.More
    The Delaware State Police are currently investigating an incident in which shots were fired at a home on Bay Avenue.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • "Hood Fight Salisbury" Cell Phone Videos

    "Hood Fight Salisbury" Cell Phone Videos

    27 cell phone videos depicting brutal streets fights among teenagers in Salisbury were posted online. Local leaders including the Mayor, State's Attorney and a Reverend react to the media.More
    27 cell phone videos depicting brutal streets fights among teenagers in Salisbury were posted online. Local leaders including the Mayor, State's Attorney and a Reverend react to the media.More
  • Chincoteague's Oldest Saltwater Cowboy Dies at 78

    Chincoteague's Oldest Saltwater Cowboy Dies at 78

    Many today mourned the loss of the oldest Chincoteague Saltwater Cowboy. Wesley Bloxom was best known for his passion and involvement in the Chincoteague Pony Swim, one of Delmarva's biggest events. Today, his life was celebrated. Caroline Coles reports.

    More

    Many today mourned the loss of the oldest Chincoteague Saltwater Cowboy. Wesley Bloxom was best known for his passion and involvement in the Chincoteague Pony Swim, one of Delmarva's biggest events. Today, his life was celebrated. Caroline Coles reports.

    More
  • Two Milford Shootings Prompt Investigations

    Two Milford Shootings Prompt Investigations

    Milford Police are investigating a pair of overnight shootings. The first took place in the 200 block of Northwest 3rd Street around 2:18 am. It’s been reported an unknown male suspect shot a male victim twice and at an occupied home striking it multiple times. The second shooting took place in the 300 block of Northwest 4th Street at approximately 5:09 am, where a suspect or multiple suspects shot and struck an unoccupied parked vehicle.

    More

    Milford Police are investigating a pair of overnight shootings. The first took place in the 200 block of Northwest 3rd Street around 2:18 am. It’s been reported an unknown male suspect shot a male victim twice and at an occupied home striking it multiple times. The second shooting took place in the 300 block of Northwest 4th Street at approximately 5:09 am, where a suspect or multiple suspects shot and struck an unoccupied parked vehicle.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices