President Trump to end health care cost-sharing subsidies

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump plans to end the cost-sharing subsidies that have helped some lower-income Americans purchase health insurance on the Obamacare marketplace, the White House announced Thursday.

The subsidies have required a monthly payment approved by Trump, which until now have gone forward. The White House has said it would consider each month’s payment on an individual basis.

The move has the potential to dramatically increase costs for some Obamacare customers. It’s the latest step taken by Trump to dismantle aspects of the signature health law signed by his predecessor.

Senator Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said the president’s “decision is a cruel move that will raise premiums for those who can least afford it.”

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., also responded on Twitter about the decision.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated premiums could go up 20 percent for some people in 2018 and 25 percent by 2020.

Earlier Thursday, the president signed an executive order that broadly tasks the administration with developing policies to increase health care competition and choice in order to improve the quality of health care and lower prices.

However, it could also destabilize Obamacare by siphoning off younger and healthier Americans from the exchanges.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the decision was “based on guidance from the Justice Department.”

“The bailout of insurance companies through these unlawful payments is yet another example of how the previous administration abused taxpayer dollars and skirted the law to prop up a broken system,” Sanders said in a statement.