Vice President Pence, did HHS shake-down health insurance companies to push Trumpcare or not? 

Today, Mike Pence will hold a staged “listening session” on Trumpcare with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, whom it has been reported recently tried to use Trump’s threat to end Affordable Care Act cost-sharing subsidies to shake down health insurance companies and pressure them into supporting Trumpcare.

“The Trump Administration has failed to make the case for Trumpcare to an incredulous public because there is no way to deny the truth that this bill would cost millions their health insurance and gut coverage for pre-existing conditions just so millionaires and billionaires could receive even larger tax breaks,” said American Bridge spokesperson Andrew Bates. “This farsical ‘listening session’ won’t change a thing about how much Trumpcare would endanger American families, but Vice President Pence should use this meeting to do the right thing and tell the American people, once and for all, did the administration try to shake down insurance companies in exchange for companies endorsing Trumpcare? And if not, can they prove it?”

Trumpcare would take health insurance from 23 million people, cripple health coverage for pre-existing medical conditions such as cancer, and cut Medicaid by over $800 billion – all in order to provide massive new tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.  As a result, Trump’s Obamacare replacement has been decisively rejected by the American public in poll after poll.

At the same time, the Trump Administration has been actively destabilizing Affordable Care Act exchanges by threatening to withhold critical federal cost-sharing subsidies that help working families afford their health insurance – a threat that has led to numerous rate hike requests and led to insurers pulling out of marketplaces.

This is a malicious ploy to create the illusion that Trumpcare is necessary, and this partisan strategy is hurting Americans right now.  Pence and Verma must answer for it this afternoon.