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State officials ask Congress to secure 'Obamacare' subsidies

WASHINGTON (AP) — State officials are asking Congress to guarantee billions of dollars in health insurance subsidies under a legal cloud as a result of Republican opposition to "Obamacare."

In a letter Wednesday to congressional leaders, the nonpartisan National Association of Insurance Commissioners said the so-called cost-sharing reductions are essential for keeping insurance markets stable next year. Insurers use the money to reduce deductibles and copayments for people with modest incomes.

The insurance commissioners want Congress to formally provide full subsidies in a must-pass government funding bill later this month.

President Donald Trump has talked of stopping the payments as a way to force Democrats to negotiate on health care.

A federal judge ruled in a lawsuit by House Republicans ruled that the payments lack a congressional appropriation. That ruling is on hold.