Rule of Law Prevails
Last week, a federal judge ruled that billions of dollars in payments made as part of the Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) subsidies under Obamacare were, in fact, illegal.
U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer agreed with House Republicans, who sued the Obama administration for violating the Constitution and making Treasury payments without a Congressional appropriation. In other words, the White House ignored Congress, their own law, and the Constitution to get its way. Although the ruling will likely be appealed, it was an important win where the judicial branch affirmed our government’s checks and balances.
Notable, the court decision only affects payments to insurers and does not change cost-sharing limits set forth in statute for Obamacare enrollees.
“We received vindication of what we have known for quite some time – that the administration does not have the authority to spend over $150 billion for payments to insurance companies without an appropriation from Congress. Today, the court’s message was clear: complying with Article I of the Constitution is not optional for President Obama,” said Chairman Upton on news of the ruling.
The courts just handed President Obama a huge loss on Obamacare
… Obamacare authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to compensate health insurers for the value of those cost-sharing reductions. However, the law does not provide funding for those payments, and Congress has never approved that money separately.
Normally, Congress would simply pass a law funding the provision. The Obama administration asked it to do just that in 2013.
But there is zero chance a Republican-led Congress will provide a health insurer bailout, when no Republican voted for the law, and Democrats sneered at them as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid rammed it through.
So instead, HHS shuffled money from other projects and handed it over to the health insurers beginning in January 2014. Those unlawful payments, if continued, would amount to about $150 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Republicans in the House sued to stop the unilateral action and now a federal judge has agreed. U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote, “Congress is the only source for such an appropriation, and no public money can be spent without one.” …
Click HERE to read the full column online.
An Anti-Obamacare Victory for the House — and the Constitution
This afternoon Judge Rosemary Collyer dropped another mess into the Obama administration’s continuing Obamacare quagmire. Her ruling in House of Representatives v. Burwell jeopardizes a major source of funding for health-insurance marketplaces, which were already barely sustainable at best. Perhaps more important, however, it represents a major defeat for the administration’s constant pattern of executive unilateralism by preserving the House’s most important constitutional prerogative, the power of the purse.
The case centers around Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies, which provide additional assistance to help low-income individuals pay for things like co-payments and deductibles. While the Obamacare law explicitly appropriated funds to subsidize premiums on insurance exchanges, it did not provide such an appropriation for these cost-sharing subsidies. The Obama administration acknowledged this in 2013, requesting such an appropriation from the House of Representatives. But months later, the administration did an about-face and proceeded to start paying cost-sharing subsidies to insurers. The House viewed this action as a unilateral usurpation of its most important constitutional prerogative — to fund, or refuse to fund, government programs.
Today Judge Collyer unequivocally agreed…
Click HERE to read the full column online.
Judge Rules Administration Illegally Delivering Funds To Insurers Participating In Obamacare
…In addition to the clear language of the ACA, the House’s suit argued that the White House was aware that there was not a permanent appropriation for this program when the administration asked Congress to fund the program in its fiscal year 2014 budget request. Congress did not appropriate the funding but the administration funded the program anyway. The non-partisan Congressional Research Service also studied the issue and concluded that there is not a permanent funding stream for the CSR payments and that “it appears…that funds for these payments are intended to be made…through annual appropriations.”
The size of the illegal payments is substantial. In 2014, these payments totaled $2.8 billion. Given premium and enrollment increases in 2015, they will likely be about 50% higher, which means that the administration, through the CSR program, has unlawfully delivered upwards of $7 billion to insurers participating in the exchanges during the last two years. …
Click here to read the full column online.