- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer on Tuesday pilloried Mr. Trump’s first 100 days in office on Tuesday, saying his health care bill and budget didn’t match his campaign promises and that he undermined foreign confidence in America though his contested travel ban.

The Maryland Democrat also said Mr. Trump must release his tax returns to prove he’s serious about sweeping out the quagmire of deals and influence-peddling that have driven Washington for years.

“We’re about to drown in the swamp,” Mr. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said.

Mr. Trump has dismissed the 100-day measure as a “ridiculous standard.” But he later put together a series of events to highlight his accomplishments, including a record number of executive orders that rolled back federal regulations and a soaring stock market.

However, Mr. Trump has lacked major legislative accomplishments, including the failure to repeal Obamacare.

Mr. Hoyer highlighted health care in particular, saying the GOP’s plan does not provide “insurance for everybody” at a lower cost, as Mr. Trump promised.

“Nothing he has proposed or supported to date is consistent with that representation,” Mr. Hoyer said. “Once he sends down such a bill, I”ll support it.”

Mr. Hoyer said Mr. Trump appears to lack a real governing philosophy, favoring short-term messages in lieu of a long-range vision.

For instance, he backed down from his insistence on border wall funding but send out a a tweet early Tuesday saying he hasn’t retreated from his push for the barrier.

“The president is replete with mixed messages,” Mr. Hoyer said.

Even as Mr. Trump moves off his border-wall push, a senior Democratic aide said House and Senate negotiations from their side will still insist on language in the stopgap spending bill that permanently funds critical Obamacare payments known as “cost-sharing reductions.”

The payments reimburse insurers for paying the out-of-pocket costs of low-income consumers on Obamacare’s web-based exchanges.

House Republicans zeroed out funding for the cost-sharing reductions in past years and won a lawsuit saying the Obama administration was unlawfully making the payments without permission from Congress.

Mr. Trump has threatened to cut off the payments by dropping an appeal of that decision, which allowed them payments to proceed on auto-pilot for now, saying it will force Democrats to negotiate a health care overhaul.

For his own part, Mr. Hoyer downplayed its role in spending negotiations, saying 7 million people rely on the payments so it is Mr. Trump’s duty to reimburse insurers as prescribed by the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

“In my view, it’s not part of some quid pro quo from them to us. It is the law. It ought to be done,” Mr. Hoyer said.

If the payments aren’t made, he said, 7 million people “will be adversely affected, the markets will be disrupted.”

The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation crunched the numbers and estimated that taxpayers’ costs would actually rise by $2.3 billion if the cost-sharing payments were eliminated.

Though some insurers might just exit the marketplace, those who choose to remain must cover low-income consumers’ costs whether they’re reimbursed or not, so they would likely hike their premiums by an average of 19 percent, according to the foundation.

Obamacare’s taxpayer-funded subsidies would have to keep pace with soaring premiums, resulting in more spending.

Assuming similar enrollment and subsidy uptake in 2018 as in this year, Kaiser estimated the government would have to pay out $12.3 billion in additional subsidy payments, outweighing the $10 billion saved by axing the cost-sharing reductions.

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