On Thursday night, the White House argued that it cannot lawfully make subsidy payments to insurers who rely on funding to reduce out-of-pocket costs for millions of low-income ObamaCare customers.
The White House said the Justice Department came to this conclusion after analyzing the cost-sharing payments and finding no congressional appropriation for them, and the Department of Health and Human Services said it will end the payments immediately. The subsidies are estimated to cost $7 billion this year, and under the law, insurers still must provide cheaper rates to members even if they no longer receive federal funding. Over the last several months, Trump has threatened to cut off the payments, which he called a "bailout" for insurance companies, and insurance companies have already raised prices in case he followed through. Still, the move is expected to significantly destabilize ObamaCare insurance markets.
In a joint statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said "it seems President Trump will single handedly hike Americans' health premiums. It is a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America. Make no mistake about it, Trump will try to blame the Affordable Care Act, but this will fall on his back and he will pay the price for it." Catherine Garcia
Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner died Wednesday, his company confirmed in a statement. He was 91.
"My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights, and sexual freedom," son Cooper Hefner, chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, said in a statement. "He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history."
Born in Chicago on April 9, 1926, Hefner launched Playboy Enterprises Inc., a media and lifestyle brand, in 1953, and that December, the first Playboy was published, featuring a nude Marilyn Monroe. Hefner was known for the parties he threw at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles and the iconic Playboy bunny icon, and later in life, he appeared on the E! reality show Girls Next Door, which followed three Playmates and their lives at the mansion. He is survived by his wife, Crystal, and children Christie, David, Marston, and Cooper. Catherine Garcia
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced Monday evening that she is opposed to both versions of the health-care bill sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) that aims to tranform ObamaCare and Medicaid.
In a statement, Collins said she has three major concerns about the proposal Graham and Cassidy authored last week and the newest version they came up with over the weekend: both make "sweeping changes and cuts in the Medicaid program," "open the door for states to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions," and "would lead to higher premiums and reduced coverage for tens of millions of Americans." Collins said there are "many flaws" with the Affordable Care Act that need to be fixed, and her "focus will remain on remedying these problems."
Her decision effectively kills the bill, as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said last week he did not support it, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he's a "no," although he did make a list of demands that, if met, would change his mind. Catherine Garcia
London's Metropolitan Police are calling a fire on a train at the Parsons Green Tube station in southwest London during Friday's morning commute a "terrorist incident." It is "too early to confirm the cause of the fire, which will be subject to the investigation that is now underway by the Met's Counter Terrorism Command," police say. The London Ambulance Service says 18 people were taken to the hospital, none with serious or life-threatening injuries.
BBC London correspondent Riz Lateef was at the station and reported widespread panic after people heard "what appeared to be an explosion," and a photo posted on social media showed a white bucket in a bag with fire coming out. BBC News anchor Sophie Raworth said she saw people with bad burns being carried from the station.
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) September 15, 2017
Media consultant Richard Aylmer-Hall, 53, said he saw some people injured in the panic to leave the train, too. "I saw crying women, there was lots of shouting and screaming, there was a bit of a crush on the stairs going down to the streets," he told the BBC. Another witness described what she saw to Raworth.
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) September 15, 2017
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the city "will never be intimidated or defeated by terrorism" and encouraged Londoners to remain "calm and vigilant." Peter Weber
This is a breaking news story and has been updated throughout.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a federal appeals court ruling issued last week that would have let refugees with support from resettlement agencies enter the United States, despite President Trump's travel ban.
About 24,000 people could be affected by the ruling, which was issued without comment and with the support of at least five justices. The Supreme Court in June lifted a block on Trump's executive order that barred certain people from Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya, and Yemen from entering the country, making an exception for those with a "bona fide" relationship to the United States. The justices are scheduled to hear arguments over the legality of the executive order on Oct. 10. Catherine Garcia
On Wednesday night, a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked the state from implementing most provisions of Senate Bill 4, a "sanctuary cities" law that lets law enforcement ask about immigration status during routine interactions and punishes local officials who do not cooperate with requests from federal immigration agents to turn over immigrants for possible deportation.
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that there is "overwhelming evidence by local officials, including local law enforcement, that SB 4 will erode public trust and make many communities and neighborhoods less safe." He did not rule against allowing police officers to ask the immigration status of people they detain if they so desire, but Garcia said police can't then arrest the people on immigration charges, and he halted the requirement that all jail officials transfer undocumented immigrants to federal agents, as that likely violates the Fourth Amendment.
SB 4 was supposed to go into effect on Sept. 1, but this ruling puts it all on hold, and Garcia will soon set a date to determine if it is constitutional, The Texas Tribune reports. Gov. Greg Abbott (R), an enthusiastic backer of the bill, said the decision will be appealed. Catherine Garcia
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined Democrats in voting no early Friday morning for the Republicans' last-ditch effort to repeal ObamaCare, with the bill failing on a vote of 49 to 51.
The bill, dubbed the Health Care Freedom Act, would have repealed ObamaCare's individual and employer mandates, defunded Planned Parenthood for a year, and allowed states to request waivers from benefits mandated by ObamaCare. It was the third defeat for the GOP this week, with two earlier proposals to repeal ObamaCare failing, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said it's now "time to move on."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he is "relieved millions and millions of people who would have been so drastically hurt by the three proposals put forward will at least retain their health care, be able to deal with pre-existing conditions ... We are relieved, not for ourselves, but for the American people." Catherine Garcia
On Thursday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) released the text of the GOP's "skinny repeal" health-care bill, which has been named the Health Care Freedom Act.
The amendment would repeal ObamaCare's individual and employer mandates for eight years, increase contribution limits to health savings accounts for three years, repeal a tax on medical devices for three years, defund Planned Parenthood for a year, and allow states to request waivers from benefits mandated by ObamaCare.
Although the proposal was just released, and several Republicans said they don't like the bill, a final vote is expected late Thursday or early Friday. Earlier in the evening, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said his chamber is open to a conference committee to work on the bill. Catherine Garcia