Trump officials confront new ObamaCare reality

The Trump administration is now confronted with the challenge of deciding how to oversee ObamaCare, a law it fiercely opposes but that is still on the books.

With the Senate’s failure to repeal the healthcare law last month, the Trump administration now has pressing questions to answer about how it will manage a system that provides insurance to more than 10 million people. 

President Trump has threatened to cancel key ObamaCare payments to insurers as part of an effort to make the health law “implode.” But he is yet to follow through on that threat, leaving insurers in a state of anxious uncertainty.

The next sign-up period for enrolling in ObamaCare begins Nov. 1. The Obama administration ran advertisements to encourage enrollment, but Trump officials have signaled that promotion effort might come to an end. 

Indeed, the Trump administration cancelled some ObamaCare ads upon taking office in January, which was the end of the last sign-up period.

Trump officials also have the power to loosen up on enforcement and regulation, particularly on the mandate under the healthcare law for people to have coverage. 

The difficulty for the White House is that Trump and, by extension, congressional Republicans, could be blamed if ObamaCare premiums spike or the marketplaces start to collapse.

The Trump administration has sent mixed signals about whether it will seek to actively undermine ObamaCare.

Trump tweeted after the Senate’s failed vote: “As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”

But his Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PricePrice: Trump was joking about firing me States may see up to 39 percent decline in Medicaid funding under repeal Complaint charges Price used campaign funds to promote Trump appointment MORE, asked about those comments on ABC’s “This Week,” declined to reiterate the goal of letting the law implode.

Price said Trump’s “implode” remark simply “punctuates the concern that he has about getting this moved in the right direction.”

On NBC, Price added that he had a duty to uphold ObamaCare. “Our responsibility is to follow the law,” Price said. “And again, we take that responsibility seriously and we will continue to do so. But remember that the current law right now is failing the American people.”

For those involved in providing ObamaCare coverage, the conflicting messages from the administration are a source of frustration.

“The biggest challenge…

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