Senior House Republicans said Thursday that they expected the federal government to continue paying billions of dollars in subsidies to health insurance companies to keep low-income people covered under the Affordable Care Act for the rest of this year — and perhaps for 2018 as well (Source: “Health Subsidies for Low Earners Will Continue Through 2017, G.O.P. Says,” New York Times, March 30, 2017).
The Republican-led House won a lawsuit accusing the Obama administration of unconstitutionally paying the insurance company subsidies, since no law formally provided the money. Although that decision is on appeal, President Trump could accept the ruling and stop the subsidy payments, which reduce deductibles and co-payments for seven million low-income people. If the payments stopped, insurers — deprived of billions of dollars — would flee the marketplaces, they say.
But senior Republicans appear unwilling to force that outcome.
“While the lawsuit is being litigated, then the administration funds these benefits,” the House Speaker, Paul D. Ryan, said Thursday. “That’s how they’ve been doing it, and I don’t see any change in that.”