Politics

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says he plans to sue President Donald Trump over his plan to repeal subsidies that help people afford health insurance under Obamacare.

Trump announced Thursday that he planned to cut off the payments, which help insurers provide coverage to low-income Americans. That includes more than half of the roughly 88,000 Kentuckians who signed up for insurance through Obamacare.

“All of us will see our health care premiums increase if the federal government breaks its word,” Beshear said in a video announcement.

“Ultimately these companies are going to pass on the costs of the federal government’s broken promises to you and me.”

The subsidies help people who earn below 250 percent of the federal poverty level pay for out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and co-pays.

According to the progressive Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, just over half of Kentuckians who got insurance through the federal health exchange qualified for the subsidies during this year’s enrollment period.

Calling the payments a “bailout of insurance companies” Trump said the policy under President Obama’s administration “skirted the law to prop up a broken system.”

Trump Tweeted on Friday: “The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!”

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that eliminating the subsidies would result in premiums rising 20 percent in 2018 and lead more insurers to stop offering plans in parts of the country.

Democrats have accused Trump of sabotaging the law, though Beshear said the lawsuit “isn’t about the president at all.”

“It’s about Kentuckians deserving health care that they can afford and the federal government keeping its word,” Beshear said.

“In the end, this action is going to harm them. It doesn’t matter if they’re a Democrat or Republican, it doesn’t matter who they voted for, they deserve affordable health care.”

Beshear will be joining Democratic attorneys general from California, Massachusetts and Connecticut who are also planning to sue Trump over the move.

In a conference call, the officials said they plan to file the lawsuit in federal court in California.

Arguing that Trump violated provisions in the Affordable Care Act and the Administrative Procedures Act, the attorneys general are attempting to block Trump’s move and force the administration to continue making payments while the lawsuit is pending.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.