This potentially unconstitutional provision of Obamacare is being ignored by everyone
04/06/2017 / By JD Heyes / Comments
This potentially unconstitutional provision of Obamacare is being ignored by everyone

After Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald J. Trump failed to convince enough fellow Republicans to advance what many conservatives saw as an Obamacare ‘repeal’ measure that was long on style and far too short on substance, both vowed to let the law “implode,” though Trump has repeatedly said he didn’t want to harm Americans in that way.

However, doing so also allows a potentially unconstitutional program to live on, The Daily Caller reported.

Before he left Congress, then-House Speaker John Boehner and Republicans in the House filed a lawsuit against the Obama regime in 2014, alleging that the government was illegally reimbursing health insurers still in the marketplace for a little-known provision of the Affordable Care Act: Cost-sharing reductions, or CSRs. (RELATED: Trump Said To Be Open To Negotiating “Obamacare 2.0” Bill Critics Say Will Ruin GOP If It Passes)

The Daily Caller noted further:

Insurers are required under the current system to provide CSRs to low and moderate income individuals who participate in the exchanges. To make consumers put more “skin in the game,” Obamacare effectively raised deductibles to levels that are tough for many Americans to meet without some financial support. CSRs were instituted to help insurers with the costs of the deductibles patients can’t otherwise meet.

The program works very simply: Health insurance firms pick up the expense of the patient’s deductible and then the federal government repays the insurer for what it paid out.

Boehner and leaders in the House believed that CSRs must be funded through an additional appropriation measure that Congress must annually approve. In the suit, the House, which has the power of the purse, argued that since Congress had never specifically funded the pay-outs the administration was unconstitutionally spending money that had not been approved for that purpose.


After deliberating the case for a couple of years, Rosemary M. Collyer, senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia – the circuit that hears all cases involving federal regulations, rules and actions – came to the conclusion that the House suit had standing, and agreed to allow it to move forward in a May 12, 2016 ruling.

That led to an appeal of the ruling by the Obama administration, and now the case remains open, with no definitive decision as of yet. Two times prior Republicans have delayed the court date; in February of this year, Trump and Ryan delayed it further, until May 22.

“A troubling result of the appeal and numerous Republican-led delays is that CSRs are still funded as they were when the Obama administration first appealed,” The Daily Caller reported. So taxpayers may still be getting unconstitutionally fleeced from a law that has cost far more than it was supposed to.

So, Trump and Ryan – amid reports that a new Obamacare repeal-and-replace measure is being negotiated – have a decision to make, and soon: Pursue or withdraw the Obama administration’s appeal. If they decide to move ahead with the appeal and the 2016 ruling is summarily upheld, then they will have accomplished a major step forward in their stated goal of wanting to dismantle Obamacare.

But withdrawing from the appeal brings great economic and political problems and risks for the administration. Trump could follow through on his thoughts to let the law ‘implode’ by withdrawing the government’s appeal, but that will leave insurers with a $7 billion bad debt, leading to even higher premiums that millions of Americans already cannot afford.

Right now, estimates are that the $7 billion allocated to fund CSRs this fiscal year climb to $10 billion in FY 2018.

If Trump and Ryan decide to back out of the case, insurers will be left holding the bag and for sure, premiums will skyrocket next year. That is part of allowing the law to implode, but how will Americans facing sky-high premium hikes react? Who will get the blame? (RELATED: Obamacare REPEAL? It’s more like health care system COLLAPSE!)

“Insurers will not simply eat the difference between what the enrollee pays and what they are left to cover,” The Daily Caller noted, adding that excess costs will be shifted to “the larger consumer base through higher premiums…”

Ryan said earlier this week that repeal-and-replace measures are merely in the “conceptual stage right now,” and did not give a timeline for when a new repeal measure would be brought to the House for a vote.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


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