While the congressional health care debate has been making headlines almost daily, Americans -- as well as the rest of the world -- should now be more than familiar with the Republican Party's determination to kill Obamacare. With a series of humiliating defeats, however, President Trump has at least one devastating option left and the unrestrained intent to use it. And that is to prevent federal dollars from reaching those insurance providers that joined the Affordable Care Act (ACA) otherwise known as Obamacare.

The state of ACA insurance providers

In fact, at the end of July, President Trump tweeted that he would deny insurance providers federal subsidies -- which he called "BAILOUTS" -- as well as "BAILOUTS" to members of Congress.

There is also no doubt that aggressive legislation by Senate Republicans had created some uncertainty for those insurance providers who wondered if they should leave or join the Obamacare marketplace. While some of the major providers had left, others have signed on before the looming deadline of Sept. 27 and some had even expanded their coverage. It is in this case that one might wonder how insurance providers in general would react should President Trump choose to hold those subsidy payments.

Republican(s) crippled funding pool for insurance providers

A recent report about pending lawsuits filed by some providers during the Obama administration might provide some insight after all as some providers allege that the government still owes them billions of dollars. This is because a certain Republican "blocked" legislation as a way to cause the ACA to fail.

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More specifically, that Republican was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) who did so when he introduced an amendment into a must-pass budget reconciliation bill in 2014. The amendment put a hard limit on the amount of money that insurance providers could get from the ACA's "risk corridors" program.

That program was designed so that insurance providers would kick in a yearly percentage into a funding pool so that insurers that had higher than expected claims would be able to cover their losses using those funds. That "risk corridor" pool was what initially motivated those providers to join the ACA marketplace. But with Rubio's amendment, it caused those providers to either flee the market or be more reluctant to join which is why Republicans are so persistent to claim with confidence as the reason why Obamacare is "failing". Last year, there was a ruling by a federal court against the Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Company which said decided that the government owed them nothing.

Looming political embarrassment for Trump

But there are still more than dozen lawsuits filed that are still pending until courts decides those cases.

Currently, insurers are apparently owed more than $8 billion which is more than enough money to get them more headlines should those providers owed win their lawsuits. If the courts decide in favor of those providers, the flood of money owed would prove to be politically devastating to the President. It should be noted that the mentioned risk corridor is not the same pool that President Trump wants to withhold "bailout" payments from. To add, now that Congress is on a 3-4 week recess -- and the President is on a 17-day vacation -- there is a race to the September deadline for providers to sign up and the courts to decide their lawsuits.