Federal Court Puts Another Nail in the Coffin for Obamacare Bailouts

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed to a request from House Republicans to delay a lawsuit aimed at one of the three insurer bailouts written into Obamacare known as cost-sharing subsidies. The Obama administration has been providing these subsidies, against the will of Congress, to insurers on the Obamacare exchanges who then subsidize the cost of Obamacare insurance plans for low-income customers.

While the President’s signature healthcare law attempted to create these subsidies, the bill failed to include language actually funding the subsidies. Congress responded to the administration’s actions by suing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) back in November of 2014. Earlier this May, federal district court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled in favor of the House, but the White House is appealed the decision to the D.C. Circuit Court.

Issued this Monday, the court’s decision effectively punts the fate of the Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies to President-elect Trump. The case is set to reopen next February when both sides will resubmit plans for how to move forward. If President-elect Trump sticks to his promise to repeal Obamacare, he could simply direct HHS to take back its appeal and stop providing subsidies to insurers against the will of Congress.

Real healthcare reform should not include insurer bailouts, federal mandates, penalties and increased taxes. President-elect Trump must make it his first priority to fully repeal Obamacare soon after inauguration. He can then begin to work with Congress to pass a series of reforms that will increase choice and lower costs through deregulation, and restore the traditional-doctor patient relationship by giving patients direct control over their health care decisions and dollars.

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