Court complicates Trump's threat to cut 'Obamacare' funds

Patrice Gainsbourg
Agosto 2, 2017

As for Congress, its members get their health care through a federal program run by the executive. However, the two experts agree that insurers would have a solid lawsuit if Trump stops the payments.

The issue is also playing out in the courts.

After a judge ruled in favor of the House in 2016, President Barack Obama launched an appeal in the case.

WASHINGTON | President Donald Trump says Congress should be paying what the public pays when it comes to "Obamacare". A federal judge past year ruled in the House GOP's favor, but allowed the government to continue paying insurers while Obama's appeal was underway.

"The President is working with his staff and his cabinet to consider the issues raised by the CSR payments", a White House statement said.

That, coupled with concern that the administration wouldn't vigorously represent the interests of states and their residents, prompted California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in May to lead their counterparts in other jurisdictions to seek to mount their own appeal of the lower court ruling. It added that the states had shown that they deserved an opportunity either to try to persuade the government to keep up the subsidies, or to compel it to do so. That is one of two types of subsidies included in the ACA as part of the basic financial mechanisms to make the system of insurance marketplaces ("exchanges") function and continue to survive financially. "Californians throughout the state will continue to be able to buy health insurance through Covered California, where most consumers are eligible for a premium subsidy", continued Jones.

"The proposed increases for Silver level plans on the exchange are significantly higher this year, even more than the increases for Bronze or Gold level plans, due to the potential refusal by the federal government to fund the Cost Share Reduction (CSR) mechanism", the department said in a statement. The payments are now appropriated by the executive branch, but they became the subject of a lawsuit between the Republican-controlled House and the Obama administration.

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Ben Tobias, a spokesman for the Gainesville, Florida police department, had a response for the president that went viral. Sanders said Tuesday the president "weighed in as any father would based on the limited information that he had".

In a couple of tweets sent Monday morning, the president demanded that Republicans continue to fight for health insurance reform, as they promised, and insinuated that should Congress fail to act, their exemption from Obamacare would be removed. The Obama administration paid out the money anyway.

The court agreed with the state officials that there's reason to believe the Trump administration isn't adequately acting on behalf of states.

"Insurance companies have had to make decisions about health insurance premiums and market participation for 2018 under the cloud of President Trump's actions undermining the Affordable Care Act, including his threat to withhold the ACA funding that reduces deductibles and co-pays for millions of Americans". As of today, it has yet to take a formal legal position on the validity of the payments, but has expressed skepticism repeatedly.

The case is now on hold at the request of both sides.

In allowing the states and the D.C. government a right to intervene, as well as specific permission to pursue that right, the Circuit Court accepted virtually all of the arguments by the states' attorneys general about the harms their governments would be likely to suffer if the insurance company subsidies were scuttled.

If Trump's move resulted in higher premiums, it could actually end up costing the federal government more money than continuing with the status quo, Blumberg said.

Legendary journalist Lyle Denniston has written for us as a contributor since June 2011 and has covered the Supreme Court since 1958. They are the most junior judges on the 11-member Circuit Court. His work also appears on lyldenlawnews.com, where this story first appeared.

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