Delay in court case deepens health insurance uncertainty

Posted May 29, 2017

The hearing was part of a lawsuit filed by House Republicans claiming Congress hadn't authorized payment of the subsidies to insurers to help consumers defray their out-of-pocket insurance costs.

Late last week, the White House told us that it will pony up in May. Obamacare customers who don't receive federal tax credits that reduce their monthly premiums will bear the full cost of such price hikes. But the federal government is supposed to reimburse them for the amount of money discounted.

The U.S. Department of Justice and House Republicans made the joint request Monday as they "continue to discuss measures that would obviate the need for judicial determination of this appeal, including potential legislative action", such as the Obamacare replacement plan known as the American Health Care Act, according to a court filing.

"In merely delaying their suit, Republicans cynically continue to sow uncertainty in the health coverage of millions of Americans", House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said in a statement.

By simply leaving the fate of the CSRs in limbo, Trump is pretty much ensuring Americans will pay more for their health coverage next year.

Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from ME, said that she thinks there needs to be some kind of certainty for people who rely on the cost-sharing reduction payments.

The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its score of the latest House health measure (rumors are that will happen Wednesday), which will reveal whether the bill saves enough money to be considered under special budget rules created to subject it to a simple-majority vote in the Senate. I'm serious. Striking a made-for-bad-TV pose, Kennedy argued that the repeal of ObamaCare "rejects. common humanity and continues the administration's calculated attempt to divide up our nation".

The imminent summer recess period may be pressuring congressional Republicans who were elected on a platform of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") to get a law passed as soon as possible, Height Securities analyst Stefanie Miller said.

Conservatives argue that President Obama lacked the authority to dole out billions of dollars of insurance subsidies, arguing that Congress never appropriated money for that objective. After almost two years of deliberation, Senior Judge of the U.S.District Court for the District of Columbia Rosemary M. Collyer concluded the House's claim had legal standing and allowed the case move forward May 12, 2016.

Those provisions included waivers states could get for insurers to raise premiums on some people with pre-existing conditions, and to ignore health benefits that must be covered under Obama's law.

Let's be clear: The Obamacare marketplaces in some states are likely headed for deep trouble, even with these subsidy payments.

The Obama administration then appealed the decision. Insurers responded to the administration's delay by emphasizing how the uncertainty has been harming the health insurance market. They strive to protect and promote the health of their children continuously.

But if the administration allows the ruling to stand, Trump couldn't legally pay out the subsidies, dealing a huge blow to insurers in the Obamcare marketplaces.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the decision to continue the funding showed the administration knew that continuing the payments was the right thing to do.

Paige Winfield Cunningham covers health policy and authors PowerPost's daily tipsheet The Health 202.