At Monday’s White House press briefing, Sean Spicer hinted that the Trump administration would be withholding their monthly Obamacare payment assistance to low-income Americans if the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) is not immediately passed.  They are holding the money that helps low-income Americans afford health insurance hostage until they get their way.  Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this. 

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During Monday’s off-camera White House press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer implied that the White House was going to hold CSR payments, cost-sharing reduction payments, to low-income Americans on Obamacare, that they were going to hold that money hostage unless the Republican version of the American Health Care Act was passed into law. Sean Spicer came out, told the crowd there, again, off-camera, that the Administration had not made a decision on whether or not they were going to make next month’s payments.

Again, these cost-sharing reductions, CSR payments, go to low-income Americans as part of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. They help them afford their health insurance. That’s the big thing about Obamacare. You get your little subsidies so that you can have health insurance and so you don’t die. That’s exactly what Republicans want to cut out.

When Trump came into office, he said, “We’re going to start making these payments, the decisions to make these payments, on a monthly basis.” With only three days left until next month, when these payments are set to go out, Sean Spicer says, “We haven’t made a decision. We don’t know if we’re going to let low-income Americans continue to buy health insurance. We might be more apt to do it if the AHCA passes the Senate and then reconciliation process begins between the House and Senate bills.”

This is psychotic behavior. They’re holding people’s health hostage in order to get their way with this disgusting version of a healthcare bill, which is nothing more than a tax break for wealthy elite. The CBO score came out on the Senate bill, and unlike the House bill that’s going to leave 23 million uninsured, the Senate version’s only going to leave 22 million uninsured. I guess that’s an improvement, but you’re still talking about 22 million people who won’t be able to afford health insurance anymore. Their deductibles are going to increase. Elderly people could see their out-of-pocket expenses grow, according to the CBO score, from 6,000 a year to $20,000 a year, and Sean Spicer and the White House are telling us that they’re going to hold these CSR payments hostage until we pass a bill that’s going to screw over 99% of this country.

The rest of the people who aren’t getting screwed over immediately are the ones who get the tax breaks. If you think you’re safe from this piece of legislation because you get health insurance through your employer, well, guess what? Millions of people who receive health insurance through their employer, according to the CBO, will also lose their healthcare insurance. Nobody is safe. It doesn’t matter where you get your insurance. Unless you can afford the 2 or $3,000-a-month payment to buy private insurance, especially if you have a preexisting condition, yeah, you’re fine. You’re going to be out some money, but you’ll still have coverage.

That’s what Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Sean Spicer are out there saying we have to do to this country, and if we don’t, people who are basically owed money under the Affordable Care Act, which is a law, we’re not going to uphold our part of the bargain. The federal government is not going to do what we are required to do for low-income Americans because we’re not getting our way and we’re not able to take health insurance away from 22 million people.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced