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Trump Executive Order Prevails as Judge Rejects Bids By 18 States to Bring Back Obamacare Subsidies

Jacob Wohl

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SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Wednesday refused to block President Donald Trump’s decision to end subsidy payments to health insurers under Obamacare, handing Trump a victory against Democratic attorneys general who have regularly challenged the president’s policies in court.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said the federal government did not have to make the payments while litigation over the subsidies unfolds.

Chhabria, appointed by former Democratic President Barack Obama, wrote that although the case appeared to be a close call, “it appears initially that the Trump administration has the stronger legal argument.”

The Trump administration this month terminated the payments to the insurers, which help cover medical expenses for low-income Americans, as part of several moves to dismantle Obama’s signature healthcare law formally known as the Affordable Care Act.

Democratic attorneys general have repeatedly opposed Trump in court this year over immigration, the environment, and healthcare.

After Trump’s decision to end the insurance subsidies, 18 states and the District of Columbia asked for an immediate order halting Trump’s move while the case is being litigated. They argued that terminating the payments harmed customers by raising insurance rates.

In his ruling, Chhabria said the kind of emergency order requested by the states was not necessary.

“The truth is that most state regulators have devised responses that give millions of lower-income people better health coverage options than they would otherwise have had,” Chhabria said.

“This is true in almost all the states joining this lawsuit,” the judge added.

U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said the subsidy payments usurped Congress’ spending power and that the department was pleased with Chhabria’s ruling.

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Jacob Wohl is the CEO and Head of Fixed Income and Interest Rates for Montgomery Assets, a proprietary trading and asset management firm based in Los Angeles, CA. Jacob Wohl is the host of the Offended America Podcast

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