(CBS NEWS) -- The Trump administration will end key cost-sharing subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, as President Trump looks for ways to dismantle his predecessor's signature law without the help of Congress.
The White House announced the major change to the health care market late Thursday night in a statement. The cost-sharing reduction payments, paid to insurers, were a component of Obamacare that made health insurance more affordable for qualified individuals and families. Ending the subsidy payments poses a major threat to the ACA -- it's likely to cause premiums to skyrocket for patients who purchase insurance on the exchanges. The payments amounted to an estimated $7 billion in 2017, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
"Based on guidance from the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that there is no appropriation for cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies under Obamacare," the White House statement said. "In light of this analysis, the government cannot lawfully make the cost-sharing reduction payments."
"The United States House of Representatives sued the previous administration in federal court for making these payments without such an appropriation, and the court agreed that the payments were not lawful. The bailout of insurance companies through these unlawful payments is yet another example of how the previous administration abused taxpayer dollars and skirted the law to prop up a broken system. Congress needs to repeal and replace the disastrous Obamacare law and provide real relief to the American people."
The president was tweeting about it early Friday morning: "The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!"