The Trump administration won’t try to wreck the Affordable Care Act on its own quite yet, telling Democrats it plans to continue making payments to health insurers considered crucial for the law’s stability.
Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, informed Democratic leaders of the administration’s plans by phone on Wednesday in an effort to resolve one of the final obstacles in negotiations over legislation to keep the government open past Friday. It was the second about-face for the White House in the budget talks this week; on Monday night the president said he would back off a demand for a down payment from Congress for his southern border wall.
“Our major concerns in these negotiations have been about funding for the wall and uncertainty about the [cost-sharing reduction] payments crucial to the stability of the marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve now made progress on both of these fronts.” Pelosi said there were other issues that remained unresolved in the spending-bill talks, but the prospect of a government shutdown has decreased. If by Friday Congress doesn’t pass an omnibus appropriations bill funding the government through September, lawmakers are expected to approve a stopgap measure to buy them some more time.