Trump budget chief defends move to cut key ObamaCare payments – The Hill

White House budget director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOvernight Finance: White House requests B for disaster relief | Ex-Equifax chief grilled over stock sales | House panel approves B for border wall | Tax plan puts swing-state Republicans in tough spot Dems baffled by Trump’s Puerto Rico debt comments Mulvaney walks back Trump’s comments on wiping out Puerto Rico debt MORE on Friday defended President Trump’s move to to end key payments to insurers selling ObamaCare plans, which critics slammed as a sabotage of the health-care law.

“These were checks from the Treasury to some of the large health-care insurance companies in the country. That’s what this was. This was not a subsidy to you or me, or anyone else who is on ObamaCare,” Mulvaney told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.”

“What this was was essentially a payoff to the insurance companies to support ObamaCare in the first place back in 2009 and 2010. It’s been a terrible policy,” added Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget.

“The president doesn’t want to write a check of your and my tax money to these large health-insurance companies that are making hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said. 

Critics have slammed the Trump administration’s move to end the disbursements, known as cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, warning of huge premium increases or insurers exiting the individual market.

Democrats and a number of Republicans are in favor of the payments, which compensate insurers for lowering out-of-pocket costs for certain ObamaCare enrollees. The administration has been funding the payments on a monthly basis.

Nevada’s Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval called Trump’s decision “devastating” while Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said the move does not lead to more coverage. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pressed Republicans on Friday to quickly restore the insurance subsidies, saying she “would like it to be in a free-standing bill next Tuesday.”

Eighteen states and Washington, D.C., signed onto a lawsuit filed Friday in California to stop Trump from halting the payments.  

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