White House: Government to Make Obamacare Payments This Month

WASHINGTON (AP) -

The government will make this month’s payments to insurers under Obamacare, which President Donald Trump still wants to repeal and replace, a White House official said Wednesday.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to end the payments, which help reduce health insurance copays and deductibles for people with modest incomes, but remain under a legal cloud.

A White House spokesman said “the August payment will be made,” insisting on anonymity to discuss the decision ahead of the official announcement. The so-called “cost-sharing” subsidies total about $7 billion this year and are considered vital to guarantee stability for consumers who buy their own individual health insurance policies.

Insurers say they want the administration to do more, and guarantee the payments at least through next year. But on Capitol Hill, a senior Republican applauded Trump’s move.

The Congressional Budget Office reported this week that premiums for a popular type of individual health-care plan under the Affordable Care Act would rise sharply, and that more people would be left without options for coverage, if Trump kept his threat to stop the payments.