Trump Trumpets New High For Dow Jones, Backs Short-Term Obamacare Payment Deal

WASHINGTON — (CBSNewYork/CBSNews/AP) — President Donald Trump trumpeted stock market gains Tuesday, and also indicated that he supports a short-term solution for Obamacare.

As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, Trump is backing a bipartisan deal to extend subsidies for the Affordable Care Act that he said last week he would stop.

Trump reacted on many fronts in a Rose Garden news conference Tuesday with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly poked its head above 23,000 points Tuesday. It happened shortly after 11 a.m., but the moment was fleeting.

Despite a last-minute rally, the index ended the day just below the threshold at 22,997. It was only two months ago that the Dow hit 22,000.

Trump was pleased with the new high watermark.

“The stock market just hit an all-time record high,” Trump said. “It broke for the first time ever 23,000.”

Trump also said he endorses a tentative bipartisan deal reached to stabilize Obamacare.

“We have been involved, and this is a short-term deal, because we think ultimately block grants going to the states is going to be the answer. That’s a very good solution,” Trump said. “We think it’s going to not only save money, but give people much better health care

Trump had promised to scrap the subsidies or cost-sharing payments, but the agreement brokered by U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) and Patty Murray (D-Washington) will allow them to continue for two years. In return, it would give states more flexibility with the Affordable Care Act.

“We’re trying to take small, limited, bipartisan step that will avoid chaos – again, to keep premiums lower and make sure that all Americans have access to insurance,” Alexander said. “We’re close to that.”

“I am very pleased in the hearings and discussions with over half the senate,” Murray said. “Chairman Alexander and I were able to find common ground on a number of steps to stabilize the market.”

The cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments are subsidies that help lower-income Americans afford health insurance. They’re paid by the administration directly to insurers. The Trump administration concluded that the government could no longer legally make the CSR payments — even though it had been paying them since the president’s inauguration in January — because Congress didn’t approve the appropriation for them. According to estimates, they cost the government $7 billion in fiscal 2017, which ended Sept. 30 and $10 billion in the current fiscal year.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) warned that if the president ended the subsidies, premiums would increase by 20 percent for silver plans next year and some people would have no insurers in the nongroup market.

On another front, the president’s nominee to head the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pennsylvania), has withdrawn his name from consideration.

Marino came under intense scrutiny after a “60 Minutes” report showed that a bill he sponsored tied the DEA’s hands in fighting the opioid drug epidemic. The bill passed unanimously last year.

“He told me, look, if there’s even a perception he has a conflict of interest, he doesn’t want to have anything to do with it,” Trump said.

Meanwhile, a decision out of Hawaii federal court has derailed President Trump’s third version of a travel ban that was to go into effect tomorrow. The judge said it appears to be unconstitutional.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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