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Trump to issue stop-payment order on health care subsidies; court challenges likely to follow

WASHINGTON — A coalition of state attorneys general vowed to file suit Friday to try to block President Donald Trump from stopping billions of dollars in “Obamacare” subsidies for consumers.

The office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (hahv-YEHR’ beh-SEH’-rah) says the federal suit will argue that the Trump administration violated a law that requires government agencies to obey existing statutes and follow orderly and transparent procedures.

The state officials will also argue that the Trump administration violated the U.S. Constitution’s “Take Care Clause,” which requires the executive branch to faithfully execute laws.

The Trump administration announced late Thursday night it’s stopping subsidies for copays and deductibles. The president took to Twitter before dawn Friday to say the Obama health law is imploding and Democrats should call him to make a deal.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the Trump administration decision to stop making payments to insurers on television Friday morning .

Sessions said on “Fox and Friends” that the Justice Department does not believe the government can spend the $7 billion for insurers because Congress never appropriated it.

The subsidies help lower copays and deductibles for people with modest incomes.

The decision to stop the payments is expected to trigger a spike in premiums for next year, unless Trump reverses course or Congress authorizes the money.

Sessions said courts have found “the appropriation must come from Congress.” He said, “The president cannot do it.”

Trump termed the so-called “Obamacare” law a “broken mess” after his move.

Trump tweeted Friday that “piece by piece” his administration will begin the process of “giving America the great HealthCare it deserves!”

 

Trump also is inviting congressional Democrats to “call me to fix” America’s health care system as he prepares the order ceasing federal subsidy payments to health insurers.

In a pre-dawn post on his Twitter account Friday, the president reiterated his oft-stated argument that “Obamacare is imploding.”

Addressing Democrats, he tweeted that “massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!”

Since his presidential campaign and nearly nine months in office, Trump has persistently called for getting rid of the 2010 Obama law. His fellow Republicans joined him in that cause, but neither Trump nor the GOP has been able to muster sufficient strength to get the repeal bill through the Senate.

 

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