New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

 

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman vowed to sue the Trump administration over the end of critical subsidy payments to insurers selling coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

“I will not allow President [Donald] Trump to once again use New York families as political pawns in his dangerous, partisan campaign to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act at any cost,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

At a news conference Friday in New York City, Schneiderman announced that his office and officials from other states, including California, are filing a multistate lawsuit, calling Trump’s decision to end the cost-sharing reduction payments “cruel and unlawful.” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy and Connecticut AG George Jepsen, also Democrats, are among those expected to join a lawsuit.

The decision to end the payments to insurers, estimated at $7 billion this year, is the biggest blow to the Obama-era health law, which Republicans in Congress have unsuccessfully attempted to repeal over the last several months, as reported in sibling publication The National Law Journal.

The cost-sharing reduction payments fund the Essential Plan in the New York health insurance exchange, which provides subsidized health insurance plans to roughly 700,000 New Yorkers. The loss of the funds could blow a $1 billion hole in the state budget, which is already dealing with a looming $4 billion budget deficit.

In a statement issued Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would support a legal challenge to Trump’s decision to end the subsidies, which are payments the federal government makes to insurers to reduce premiums and other expenses for low-income individuals.

“Unable to move the repeal of the Affordable Care Act in Congress, President Trump is now attempting to administratively dismantle the ACA bit by bit,” Cuomo said. “His actions will slash benefits and raise premiums in many health plans by 20 percent next year according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, and it will single handedly destabilize insurance markets. With a swipe of a pen, President Trump puts the health of New Yorkers at risk.