How Trump could sink Obamacare, pull market supports

President Trump has been ramping up his threats to derail the Affordable Care Act in the last few days, especially since Republicans on Capitol Hill have put aside their immediate effort to repeal or replace the law.

Early Friday morning, after Senate Republicans failed to pass their “skinny repeal” that would roll back portions of the Affordable Care Act, President Trump tweeted, “As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”

On Monday, he added to speculation that he will not continue the current arrangement with insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. “If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn’t it hurt the insurance companies?” he said.

Trump also specifically tweeted about the possibility of ending subsidy payments the federal government makes to insurance companies, which reduce premiums and out of pocket costs for lower-income Americans who buy their own insurance on the individual markets.

On Saturday, Trump said in another tweet, “If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”

Under current law, these federal payments, also known as cost-sharing reductions, or CSRs, are made directly to insurance companies to keep prices down.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that if these CSR payments were stopped, insurance premiums on the individual markets would increase by 19 percent or higher.

Experts fear many Americans who have relied on subsidized insurance will no longer be able to afford individual plans and insurance companies may simply choose to withdraw their plans from marketplaces altogether, only selling privately or to groups.

Insurance companies may also read an end to subsidies as a signal about government intentions.

“Some insurers may also interpret a decision to stop these reimbursements…

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