That’s the headline for an op-ed of mine that ran this weekend in the Los Angeles Times.
Back in 2013, the Obama administration asked Congress to appropriate the money for the cost-sharing payments. The Republican-controlled Congress refused. Concerned for the fate of its healthcare bill, the Obama administration then adopted a dubious legal theory that allowed it to make the payments even in the absence of a clear appropriation from Congress.
Incensed, the House of Representatives sued the administration. A federal court ruled in the House’s favor but put its opinion on hold to allow the Obama administration to appeal.
That’s where matters stood when President Trump took office. At that point, he decided that the threat of withholding the payments would give him leverage in negotiations over repealing and replacing Obamacare. “You’ve got a lot of nice people with insurance there, Democrats,” he might as well have said. “It’d be a shame if something happened to them.”
Ten months later, Trump has followed through on his threat, claiming to finally appreciate that the payments cannot lawfully be made. But the constitutional rhetoric is pure pretext. Ending the cost-sharing payments is only the most visible manifestation of a systematic campaign to sabotage the ACA.
Go read the whole thing!