UPDATE | Democrat says party won’t cave on ‘Obamacare’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer says “threats and bullying” from President Donald Trump will not force Democrats to repeal the Obama health care law.

The New York Democrat tells reporters people will blame Republicans for the pain of Trump’s decision to halt federal payments to insurers.

Schumer says blocking those subsidies will cause higher premiums and prompt some insurers to stop selling policies.

He says people “know full well which party is doing it.”

Schumer says Trump has “a decreased level of trust” with voters and congressional Democrats. He says Trump lacks leverage to force Democrats to make concessions.

The Democratic leader says there’ll be a good chance to restore the money in a bipartisan end-of-year spending bill

Meanwhile, the health insurance industry says the billions of dollars in “Obamacare” subsidies that Trump is halting are not a “bailout” that companies are using to line their coffers.

America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said in a joint statement Friday that the money goes to doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and other service providers to lower copays and deductibles for 6 million consumers.

“This action will make it harder for patients to access the care they need,” said the statement. “Costs will go up and choices will be restricted.”

The industry has been urging Congress to clear up a legal dispute over the money by formally directing the executive branch to make the monthly payments.

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