Minnesota joining lawsuit challenging Trump move on insurance payments

President Trump Delivering on His America First Pledge

A White House official said these health plans "could potentially allow American employers to form groups across state lines" - a goal championed by Trump and many other Republicans.

While that's a relatively small number of beneficiaries compared with most states, it's large enough that Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said Friday she will seek an injunction as part of a lawsuit that would prevent the federal government from withholding the payments, which are supposed to be made next week.

The Trump administration said it would stop the insurance payments that were due next week and would not pay the costs going forward.

This comes after the president announced his intent to cut key cost-sharing subsidies for health insurance companies.

It was unclear exactly how the end of those payments would hit Minnesota, but state officials said it would not affect premiums for 2018 for the 180,000-plus shoppers on the individual market. "You can't just end statutory payments, especially after you've been making them so long", she said.

"With these actions, we are moving toward lower costs and more options in the health care market", Trump said before signing his directive in the Oval Office.

"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". Seventeen states and the District of Columbia won the right in August to defend the payments in a court case.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, who represents St. Paul, said the president's action was reckless.

"This executive order is the start of a long process as the gears of the federal bureaucracy churn, not the final word", said Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

"The Trump Administration's decision to abruptly end these cost-saving federal subsidies is very concerning", the state commissioners for Commerce and Human Services and the MNsure chief executive said in a joint statement Friday.

Earlier Thursday, Trump signed an executive order that would eventually allow groups and associations of employers to sponsor coverage that can be sold across state lines, in some cases with looser requirements than now in law. "We are still working to analyze the future impacts this decision will have on the Minnesotans who rely on MinnesotaCare and individual health insurance policies".

On Friday, an HHS spokesman told the Star Tribune via e-mail that the administration's decision would affect funding for what the ACA calls a Basic Health Program (BHP), but details weren't available.

"Our premiums for 2018 anticipated this action and were increased previously to account for it", Geoff Bartsh, a vice president with Minnetonka-based Medica, said in a statement.

Still, with all the changes in Washington through presidential orders and failed attempts to rewrite the nation's health care, the news could be worrying for those concerned about their health insurance. "You read the news and you don't know what to make of it all".

Information for this article was contributed by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of The Associated Press; by Amy Goldstein of The Washington Post; by Robert Pear and Reed Abelson of The New York Times; and by Natasha Rausch and Zachary Tracer of Bloomberg News.

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