A report conducted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would rise by 20 percent within a year if President Donald Trump refuses to keep subsidizing the health care law.
The CBO report estimates that if the Trump administration's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) stopped reimbursing insurance companies, then Americans would have significantly higher premiums and limited access to insurance plans by 2020, along with an inflated federal deficit, CNBC reports.
On July 27, Senate Republicans were unable to gather enough votes to pass a repeal of the ACA. Trump took to social media to announce that he would allow for the health care markets to destabilize in order to pressure Democrats to come to the negotiation table.
"As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal," Trump tweeted out.
On July 29, Trump took to Twitter again to assert that his administration would cease to provide cost-sharing reimbursements (CSR) to insurance companies if Congress did not pass new health care legislation.
"If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!" Trump tweeted out on July 29.
On July 30, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price disclosed that the administration had not decided whether to discontinue the subsidies.
"Our job is to follow the law of the land and we take that mission very, very seriously," Price told NBC News.
The federal government provides CSR payments to insurance companies that are legally mandated to offer discounted plans to Americans with incomes up to four times federal poverty level. The subsidies are expected to cost the government $10 billion in 2018.
On Aug. 15, the CBO released a report estimating that premiums would increase by 20 percent by 2018 if the DHHS stopped providing insurance companies with CSR payments. The report found that 5 percent of Americans would live in areas where health care plans would be unavailable, as well.
The CBO report also estimated that premiums would rise by an additional 25 percent in 2020, while the federal deficit would grow by $194 billion.
White House spokesperson Ninio Fetalvo dismissed the CBO score in a statement.
"Regardless of what this flawed report says, Obamacare will continue to fail with or without a federal bailout. ... No final decisions have been made about the CSR payments," Fetalvo said.
Protect Our Care Campaign director Leslie Dach, an advocate for preserving the ACA, blasted the White House reaction to the CBO report.
"President Trump seems to prefer playing political sabotage games over doing his job of lowering costs and improving our health care," Dach said.