White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on June 23 that President Donald Trump has not committed to making Obamacare insurance payments in July.
The insurance payments are "cost-sharing reductions," also known as CSRs, which help about 7.1 million poor people, noted the Kaiser Family Foundation in April. If the CSRs are suddenly defunded by Trump, millions of people would likely lose their insurance coverage.
Michael C. Bender of The Wall Street Journal tweeted June 23: "Trump won't commit to Obamacare insurance payments next month, Spicer says briefing. WH is using the $$$ as leverage in health care debate."
Bender also included Spicer's statement to the press:
We committed to making them last month, and that’s as far as we will go at this time. We’re not committing to them this month. If we can pass health care overall, then that changes the dynamic. It will ultimately be up to the president to decide.
If the president were to hypothetically say he’s going to make the payments in perpetuity or for a year, I think that continues to prop up a failed system and continues to do wrong by the American taxpayer and it also doesn't lend itself to the expediency that I think we want to help get a new health care system in place.
Trump tweeted June 26 that he may let the current insurance system crash: "Republican Senators are working very hard to get there, with no help from the Democrats. Not easy! Perhaps just let OCare crash & burn!"
Trump told The Economist in May that he will stop paying the Obamacare subsidies anytime he feels like it because Obamacare is "dead":
You know when people say, "Oh, Obamacare is so wonderful," there is no Obamacare, it’s dead. Plus we’re subsidizing it and we don’t have to subsidize it. You know if I ever stop wanting to pay the subsidies, which I will.
The Weekly Standard noted June 22 that Trump's comments to The Economist have "already accelerated the collapse of health care exchanges as insurers move to limit their risk by raising prices or withdrawing from markets altogether."
On June 26, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its estimate of the GOP Senate plan, forecasting about 22 million Americans would lose their health insurance by 2026, notes CNBC.
The CBO estimated in May that 23 million Americans would lose their insurance coverage under the House bill.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Dean Heller of Nevada have signaled they will not support the Senate bill in its current form.
Sources: Michael C. Bender/Twitter, Donald Trump/Twitter, The Economist, The Weekly Standard, Kaiser Family Foundation, CNBC / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr, The White House/Flickr, Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons