Donald Trump has an incredibly odd plan to get Democrats to negotiate an Obamacare repeal

Trump's willing to gut coverage for 7 million people to get Dems to give him political cover

By Matthew Rozsa
April 13, 2017 6:16PM (UTC)
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(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

It seems that President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly predicted that the Affordable Care Act will fail on its own, is now threatening to actively sabotage health care in America unless Democrats start doing his bidding.

Trump is warning Democrats that he will eliminate a $7 billion per year cost-sharing subsidy program if they continue to refuse to negotiate with him on the Affordable Care Act, according to a report by Politico. These subsidies exist to help insurers afford medical bills incurred by low-income patients and have been the subject of a lawsuit by the White House. While the Department of Health and Human Services indicated on Monday that they might continue the payments, however, they made it clear on Tuesday that they had yet to come to an official decision.


Sources informed Politico that this was because Trump, who wants to be able to use the subsidies as leverage to force Democrats to the bargaining table, summoned Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to the White House and drafted a statement that made it clear he was more than willing to use the subsidies as a bargaining chip.

The statement, which was submitted in the name of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Alleigh Marré, argued that "we have not been contacted by Democrats to help save Obamacare, perhaps because they consider Obamacare to be a losing cause. Democrats need to help solve this failed Obamacare plan."

On Wednesday Trump reiterated this point to The Wall Street Journal, arguing that "I don’t want people to get hurt. What I think should happen — and will happen — is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating."


By contrast, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's spokesman Matt House argues that "failing to make these payments would be a direct effort by the administration to further undermine the health care system in this country, putting care for millions of Americans at risk. President Trump has an obligation to drop his attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and instead work with Democrats to strengthen it."

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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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