The Latest: AG defends Trump halt to payments to insurers

The Latest on President Donald Trump and health care (all times local):

8:40 a.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is defending the Trump administration decision to stop making payments to insurers under the Obama health care law.

Sessions says on “Fox and Friends” that the Justice Department does not believe the government can spend the $7 billion for insurers because Congress never appropriated it.

The subsidies help lower copays and deductibles for people with modest incomes.

The White House said late Thursday that it would stop the payments. That’s expected to trigger a spike in premiums for next year, unless Trump reverses course or Congress authorizes the money.

Sessions says courts have found “the appropriation must come from Congress.” He says, “The president cannot do it.”

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7:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is calling the so-called “Obamacare” law a “broken mess” after his move that’s likely to roil insurance markets.

Trump tweeted Friday that “piece by piece” his administration will begin the process of “giving America the great HealthCare it deserves!”

The White House said late Thursday it would immediately halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law.

The subsidies help lower copays and deductibles for people with modest incomes. Stopping the payments would trigger a spike in premiums for next year unless Trump reverses course or Congress authorizes the money.

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5:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump is inviting congressional Democrats to “call me to fix” America’s health care system, as he prepares an order ceasing federal subsidy payments to health insurers.

In a pre-dawn post on his Twitter account Friday, the president reiterated his oft-stated argument that “Obamacare is imploding.”

Addressing Democrats, he tweeted that “massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!”

Since his presidential campaign and nearly nine months in office, Trump has persistently called for getting rid of the 2010 Obama law. His fellow Republicans joined him in that cause, but neither Trump nor the GOP has been able to muster sufficient strength to get the repeal bill through the Senate.

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3:40 a.m.

In a brash move likely to roil insurance markets, President Donald Trump will “immediately” halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law he has been trying to unravel for months.

The Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement in a statement late Thursday. “We will discontinue these payments immediately,” said acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Medicare administrator Seema Verma. Sign-up season for subsidized private insurance starts Nov. 1, in less than three weeks, with about 9 million people currently covered.

In a separate statement, the White House said the government cannot legally continue to pay the so-called cost-sharing subsidies because they lack a formal authorization by Congress.

Source.