Miami Republican attacks Trump’s decision to end Obamacare payments

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami.

Miami Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen sharply criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to end cost-sharing reduction payments intended to help low-income Americans afford health insurance.

Ros-Lehtinen, a frequent critic of Trump who is retiring in 2018, said late Thursday night on Twitter that “cutting healthcare subsidies will mean more uninsured in my district.”

“POTUS promised more access, affordable coverage,” Ros-Lehtinen tweeted. “This does opposite.”

The Trump administration said Thursday night that it will stop making payments to health insurers that participate in Obamacare. Trump continued to make the subsidy payments through the summer as he publicly pressured Congress to repeal the 2010 law.

“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,” the White House said in a statement. “Congress needs to repeal and replace the disastrous Obamacare law and provide real relief to the American people.”

Ros-Lehtinen’s Miami-based district has 96,300 people enrolled in Obamacare, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the highest number of enrollments of any congressional district in the country.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen holds a news conference on Monday, May 1, 2017, at her Miami district office to officially announce her retirement from Congress.

Another Miami Republican, Rep. Carlos Curbelo, tweeted on Friday morning that Congress should continue funding the subsidies through the federal funding process.

“Cost sharing reductions are critical to low income Americans,” Curbelo tweeted. “Congress should guarantee their funding through the appropriations process.”

Curbelo’s district has 92,500 people enrolled in Obamacare.

Ros-Lehtinen was one of 20 Republicans who voted against the GOP’s attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare in May. Curbelo, who is up for reelection in a Miami-to-Key West district that voted in favor of Hillary Clinton, voted in favor of the proposal.

The third Miami Republican in Congress, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, also voted in favor of the proposal. Sen. Marco Rubio also supported the repeal-and-replace legislation.

Trump has frequently said that he will take steps to undermine Obamacare after the Senate failed to pass a repeal bill in July.

Alex Daugherty: 202-383-6049, @alextdaugherty