KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Republicans Win Lawsuit Over Obamacare Cost-Sharing Payments

A federal judge rules in favor of lawmakers who sued the Obama administration over funding for the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing subsidy program. Anticipating an appeal, the judge stayed the order.

Politico: House GOP Wins Obamacare Lawsuit
A federal judge on Thursday ruled the Obama administration has been improperly funding an Obamacare subsidy program, a huge win for the House of Representatives’ lawsuit against the White House. The judge said that the program can continue, pending appeal. The ruling, if it stands, could be a significant financial setback for the millions of low-income Americans who benefit from the cost-sharing subsidies, which help people pay for out-of-pocket costs like co-pays at the doctor’s office. But it would not be a fatal blow to the future of the president’s signature domestic policy achievement. (Haberkorn, 5/12)

The Associated Press: Judge Sides With House Republicans Against Obamacare
A federal judge has ruled that the Obama administration is unconstitutionally spending federal money to fund the president's health care law. The ruling Thursday from U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer is a win for House Republicans who brought the politically charged legal challenge. At stake is $175 billion the government is paying to reimburse health insurers over a decade to reduce co-payments for lower-income people. (5/12)

The Wall Street Journal: Obama’s Health Law Wrongly Repaying Funds To Insurers, Judge Says
The decision by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer introduces significant new legal uncertainty for the Affordable Care Act headed into the heat of the 2016 election season, and at a time when the White House had hoped to move beyond years of blockbuster court battles over President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement. (Kendall, Armour and Wilde Mathews, 5/12)

The Hill: Judge Rules For House GOP In ObamaCare Suit
At issue are billions of dollars in “cost sharing reduction payments” under ObamaCare which are paid to insurance companies so they can reduce out of pocket costs such as deductibles for low income people on ObamaCare plans. The House GOP argued that the administration was unconstitutionally spending money on these payments without an appropriation from Congress. The administration argued it did not need an appropriation from Congress because the funds were already permanently appropriated by ObamaCare in the same section as the law’s better known tax credits that help people afford coverage. (Sullivan, 5/12)

Vox: An Anti-Obamacare Lawsuit Just Won A Big Victory. Yes, Another One.
D.C. District Court judge Rosemary Collyer ruled Thursday that the House Republicans were right: that the Obama administration does not have legal authority to provide low-income, Obamacare enrollees with subsidies to help pay their deductibles and co-payments. "Paying out Section 1402 reimbursements without an appropriation thus violates the Constitution," Collyer wrote in her decision. "Congress authorized reduced cost sharing but did not appropriate monies for it, in the FY 2014 budget or since. Congress is the only source for such an appropriation, and no public money can be spent without one." (Kliff, 5/12)

The Washington Post: Judge Strikes Down Obama Health Law Insurance Subsidy In Victory For House GOP
In a briefing Thursday after the decision, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called the lawsuit a new low in the battle over the controversial health care law and predicted the ruling would be overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit because it charted new ground in the separation of powers between presidents and Congress. “This is the first time in our nation’s history that Congress has been allowed to sue the executive branch over the interpretation of the statute,” Earnest said. He criticized Republicans for using taxpayer money to “re-fight a political fight that they keep losing.” (Hsu, 5/12)

USA Today: Federal Judge Strikes Down Obamacare Payments
Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor who represented the House of Representatives in the lawsuit, called the opinion a historic ruling reaffirming Congress’s power of the purse. “Judge Collyer’s opinion is a resounding victory not just for Congress but for our constitutional system as a whole,” he said in a statement on his blog. “We remain a system based on the principle of the separation of powers and the guarantee that no branch or person can govern alone.” White House press secretary Josh Earnest was dismissive of the decision. (Wolf, Korte and O'Donnell, 5/12)

The Washington Times: Judge Rules In Favor Of House GOP In Obamacare Lawsuit
The order by U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer, presiding in Washington, says the administration should stop doling out the Affordable Care Act’s “cost-sharing” payments to insurers until it gets an appropriation from Congress. However, she stayed that order pending a likely appeal by the administration. (Howell, 5/12)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.