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Hogan wants Congress to renew the Obamacare subsidies Trump cut

Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan supports reviving the Obamacare subsidies cut by President Trump that help low-income people buy health insurance, according the governor's spokesman.

Hogan spokesman Doug Mayer said Thursday the governor supports federal legislation that would reinstate the subsidies. Those "cost-reduction" payments subsidies are paid to health insurance companies in exchange for offering savings to consumers.

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Republican President Trump, who campaigned on repealing Obamacare, announced last week he would stop making the payments. He called them an improper bailout to the insurance industry.

Trump later singalled he may support a short-term congressional fix to shore up health insurance markets destabilized by his decisions to end subsidies and to let insurance companies sell cheaper, skimpier policies.

While ten other governors from both parties signed a letter released Thursday asking Congress to restore the subsidies, Hogan was not among them.

Mayer said the governor did not sign the letter supporting specific legislation crafted by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray because the bill as written could change.

But Mayer emphasized that Hogan wants the federal government to renew the payments, which state anlaysts said total up to $8 million a month in Maryland.

"There's needs to be a legislative fix, but D.C. is D.C.," Mayer said. "Something that starts out one way can turn 180 degrees. We support it (the legislation) as it is now."

The Maryland Health Exchange, the online insurance marketplace where the subsidized policies are sold, hopes to sign up at least 140,000 enrollees this year - the same number as last year. But its leaders said recent decisions by Trump has sowed "consumer confusion" it will have to combat.

Obamacare, shorthand for the Affordable Care Act, is a politically sensitive issue for Hogan, a popular Republican governor of a majority Democratic state.

Maryland's Democratic Party released as statement Thursday questioning why Hogan couldn't sign on to the letter the way other GOP leaders of a Democratic states did, namely Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont.

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