HARRISBURG — Gov. Wolf urged President Trump and some members of Congress on Wednesday to ensure that insurance companies continue to receive the payments that help subsidize health-care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
In a statement, Wolf asked Trump to guarantee payments through the end of the year and all of 2018, and for the Republican-led Congress to set aside money for these payments “so our insurers can have certainty that will save consumers around the country from significant premium increases.”
“It is imperative that we do not waste this opportunity,” the Democratic governor said. “Congress and the Trump administration must act nowm or Pennsylvanians and consumers around the country who will bear the cost of that indecision will know who failed to protect them.”
Wolf’s statement came one day after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned that halting the payments — as Trump has threatened to do — could increase premiums for many plans by as much as 20 percent next year and increase the federal deficit over the next decade.
Despite the president’s overtures, the White House on Wednesday signaled it would make the next payment. But if offered no clues if the payments will continue through year’s end.
Wolf’s office said 506,000 Pennsylvanians purchase coverage on the individual market, and 340,000 receive subsidies to help afford that coverage.
Disputes over the payments are not new. In 2014, House Republicans filed a lawsuit alleging that the subsidies were illegal because Congress did not appropriate money for them. A federal judge agreed last year, and ordered an end to the payments, but suspended the order to allow for an appeal.
In addition to issuing his statement, Wolf sent letters to Pennsylvania senators and representatives — both Republican and Democrat — urging them to continue the payments.