WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Trump loves to talk about how great the stock market is doing under his presidency, but on Saturday he took to Twitter to celebrate major losses for health insurance companies.
The stock prices for a number of insurance providers plummeted Friday, just a day after Trump ended a subsidy that reduces co-pays and deductibles for lower-income Americans. Insurance companies say without the payments they'll have to increase premiums for a lot of Americans because they're still obligated by law to providing cost-sharing reductions to low-income Americans that qualify for them.
President Trump obviously doesn't see the subsidy in the same way. "That money is a subsidy to insurance companies," said Trump to a group of reporters outside the White House on Friday. "The insurance companies have made a fortune. That money was a subsidy and almost you can say a payoff to insurance companies."
President Trump seems to believe that his actions are working to fix health care in America. On Saturday he tweeted that his health care initiatives will expand access to coverage and lower the cost for millions of Americans.
However, the Congressional Budget Office has a much different outlook for the impact of Trump's tinkering with Obamacare. It says stopping the subsidy payment will cause the number of uninsured Americans to rise by 1 million next year, increase the cost of premiums 20% for 2018 and 25% by 2020, and increase the Federal deficit by $194 billion over the next decade.
You might ask how cutting a $7 billion per year subsidy fund could possibly cost the government $194 billion. Here's how the CBO puts it.
Total federal subsidies for health insurance in the nongroup market—in particular, the sum of the premium tax credits and the CSR payments—would increase for two reasons: The average amount of subsidy per person would be greater, and more people would receive subsidies in most years.
If you look at the analysis, President Trump has essentially ensured that the government will be paying more money for health insurance that is more expensive and covers fewer Americans. It's a bad deal for the American people, crafted by a president who literally wrote the book on deal-making.
Kind of ironic, isn't it?