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States Ask Judge to Keep Subsidies     10/23 05:33

   An attempt by 19 states to force President Donald Trump to pay health care 
subsidies will go before a federal judge in San Francisco. 

   SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The top lawyers for 19 states will urge a federal 
judge Monday to force President Donald Trump's administration to pay health 
care subsidies he abruptly cut off earlier this month.

   State attorneys general, led by California Democrat Xavier Becerra, argue 
the monthly payments are required under former President Barack Obama's health 
care law, and cutting them off will harm consumers.

   Trump's Health and Human Services Department announced earlier this month 
that the administration will cut off payments known as cost-sharing reduction. 
Trump has said Obama's law is imploding and has criticized the subsidies as 
insurance company bailouts. The White House says the government cannot legally 
continue paying the subsidies because there is no formal authorization from 

   However, the administration had been making monthly payments even as Trump 
threated to cut them off to force Democrats to negotiate over health care. A 
bipartisan effort in Congress to restore the payments has run into opposition.

   The payments reimburse insurers for the costs of lowering copays and 
deductibles, which they're required to do for low-income customers who buy 
coverage through the health care marketplaces created by Obama's Affordable 
Care Act.

   The states argue that the Trump administration violated a law requiring 
government agencies to obey existing statutes and follow orderly and 
transparent procedures.

   "He's threatening access for millions of Americans to decent quality health 
care, and it's time for him to stop playing this game because for too many 
people it's not a game," Becerra said last week.

   The states are asking U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, an Obama 
appointee, to force the Trump administration to continue making monthly 
payments while the case is litigated, which will take months.

   Democratic attorneys general have forcefully pushed back against Trumps 
agenda in the federal courts, looking to stymie the president's attempts to 
roll back Obama's policies on the environment, health care and immigration.

   The states joining California in the lawsuit are: Connecticut, Delaware, 
Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New 
York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and 
Washington, along with the District of Columbia.


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