Washington state attorney general joins health lawsuit
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has joined the multistate coalition suing over President Donald Trump's decision to immediately halt federal payments to insurers.
The state is among nearly 20 states that has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration Friday.
At issue is a federal subsidy for deductibles and co-pays that helps lower costs for consumers with modest incomes. The White House says the government cannot legally continue to pay the so-called cost-sharing subsidies because they lack a formal authorization by Congress.
Consumers who qualify will still receive tax credits to help pay their silver premiums, however, millions of others across the country who buy individual health care policies without any financial assistance from the government and could face prohibitive increases.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that premiums for a standard "silver" plan will increase by about 20 percent without the subsidies. In Washington state, the increase is expected to be between 9 and 27 percent, officials say.
Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler says that President Trump's decision to immediately halt federal payments to insurers "is a devastating blow" to thousands of people in the state and threatens the stability of the individual health insurance market.
In a written statement Friday, Kreidler said he is considering further action to challenge the decision.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced late Thursday that the payments were be discontinued "immediately" and Trump took to Twitter Friday morning to urge Democrats to make a deal, writing that "The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding."
A spokeswoman for Kreidler said that more than 330,000 people buy health insurance through the state's individual market and more than 70,000 qualify for subsidies.