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After he failed to get his own health care bill passed, Donald Trump is threatening to withhold coverage from millions of Americans unless Democrats help him kill Obamacare. The Wall Street Journal reported (sub.req.):
In an interview in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump said the executive branch may lack legal authority to make the payments established under his predecessor to reduce copayments and deductibles for some of the poorest customers who buy insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Cutting off the payments could trigger turmoil in insurance markets.
“I don’t want people to get hurt,” Mr. Trump said. “What I think should happen—and will happen—is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.”
Trump is threatening the health care coverage of tens of millions of Americans, along with wrecking the entire health insurance market because he is mad that Democrats won’t go along with his plan to kill the ACA and replace it with a plan that would throw 24 million people off their coverage.
Senate Democratic Leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) vowed that Trump’s hostage taking would fail, “President Trump is threatening to hold hostage health care for millions of Americans, many of whom voted for him, to achieve a political goal of repeal that would take health care away from millions more. This cynical strategy will fail. Our position remains unchanged: drop repeal, stop undermining our health care system, and we will certainly sit down and talk about ways to improve the Affordable Care Act.”
If Trump does hold health care hostage, the Democrats won’t budge, because they know that Trump and the Republican Party will be held responsible for the damage. Trump’s health care blackmail will also have the unintended consequence of costing dozens of moderate Republicans their seats in the House. The best thing that Trump could do to help Democrats win in 2018 would be to blow up the health insurance market with executive action.
Trump is determined to get his health care bill passed, even if means Republicans losing control of Congress in 2018.