Blue state Republican Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-07) is the first of his colleagues to respond to Donald Trump’s Obamacare sabotage escalation. He issued a statement Friday morning that both allows him to declare himself a rock-ribbed Republican but also calls on Congress to save the day, and his congressional seat.
“I have long argued that funding for the cost-sharing reduction program is unconstitutional. Under the Constitution, the power of the purse belongs to Congress and a federal court last year affirmed this view by deeming these health insurance subsidy payments illegal. Now Congress must act and pass the Problem Solvers Caucus health care plan that I have endorsed. It funds the cost-sharing reduction program through the congressional appropriations process and implements free-market policies to improve our health care system and lower medical and insurance costs for all.”
Perhaps Lance is aware that the insurers in his state set their premium rates this year assuming that the CSRs were going to be paid, and that now they won’t be, the insurers are likely to just leave. (Our local hero Brainwrap/Charles Gaba has been doing the heavy lifting to determine where all the states and insurers are in rate setting for 2018.) The door is closed for insurers to adjust premiums for 2018 in New Jersey and 13 other states, so it’s very likely that the insurers will exit the markets. That means hundreds of thousands of folks in New Jersey left without health insurance.
In an election year. So it’s no wonder Lance is just a little bit panicky.