If Congress fails to repeal and replace Obamacare, as Republicans promised, then President Trump seems determined to dismantle it one piece at a time the same way his predecessor built it up: with his trusty executive order pen.
Having already moved this week to provide more choices and competition for insurance shoppers, Trump is now ending cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurers. Those are the big government subsidies paid to insurance companies to offset the cost of covering so many people with pre-existing conditions. The whole thing followed a familiar script: Trump did away with something Obama started, Democrats howled, and he pointed out that he has no alternative because Obama had no constitutional authority to do it in the first place.
The White House noted that the Affordable Care Act contains no provisions for the government to give financial support to private insurance companies. Obama did it anyway, but Presidents have no power to appropriate federal funds; that’s a budget-making power that belongs exclusively to Congress.
Right on cue, Nancy Pelosi and other Congressional Democrats branded Trump’s move as a “spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class” that will send premiums skyrocketing. Naturally, they did not address the elephant in the room: that it was Obama who overstepped his authority by doing this in the first place. What they dismiss as “pointless” is the Constitutional separation of powers, and those skyrocketing premiums are the result of their own terrible health care bill. They were just hidden until now because Obama unconstitutionally offset them with a mountain of money that wasn’t his to spend.
It’s ironic that Democrats keep dismissing Trump as nothing but a “reality TV star,” when he’s the one trying to force them to deal with hard realities and they’d rather ignore them and just keep going along as if everything is fine, no matter how legally or financially shaky it might be. It’s almost as if they have a natural aversion to anything remotely related to reality.
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