WASHINGTON, May 12, 2016 – House republicans and conservatives are cheering a federal judge’s decision to strike down Obama health law insurance subsidies.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled in a 38-page decision that the administration sending payments to insurers is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit United States House of Representatives v. Sylvia Matthews Burwell, was filed by the House republican leadership who concluded that President Barack Obama had ignored the Constitution by funding a program which had been zeroed out by Congress. The suit contended that Obama had overstepped his constitutional authority by authorizing the disbursement of funds which were never approved by Congress.
The projected cost to tax payers is expected to be 175 billion over a 10-year period.
In the ruling Judge Collyer was clear about the illegality of Obama’s administration action. She specified,
“…the statutory provisions in this case are clear in isolation and in context. The Affordable Care Act unambiguously appropriates money for Section 1401 premium tax credits but not for Section 1402 reimbursements to insurers. Such an appropriation cannot be inferred. None of Secretaries’ extra-textual arguments—whether based on economics, “unintended” results, or legislative history—is persuasive. The Court will enter judgment in favor of the House of Representatives and enjoin the use of unappropriated monies to fund reimbursements due to insurers under Section 1402.”
Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., agreed with the ruling and indicated that,
“Today’s ruling by the DC federal court is an important step toward restoring the separation of powers and stopping President Obama’s power grab. The Constitution is very clear: it is Congress’ job to write our laws and it is the President’s duty to enforce them,” according to Fox News.
Judge Collyer, a President George W. Bush appointee, is allowing for the administration to appeal her ruling.
The administration has engaged in several executive order changes to the purpose of the original legislation, including deferring implementation of certain sections of the health care legislation. The subsidies were supposed to be an essential enticement for insurance companies to participate in state-based healthcare Obamacare exchanges.
The insurers would benefit from government reimbursements by giving program enrollees reduced deductibles and co-pays.
Obama has engaged in what many on Capitol Hill have termed as the artful dodge by side stepping his legal authority to implement congressionally approved legislation at the funding levels approved by congress.
The court’s decision alluded to which branch of government has the authority to allow appropriation of funds by the U.S. Treasury. It cited Andrus v. Sierra Club, 442 U.S. 347, 361 (1979) (quoting TVA v. Hill,
“Appropriations legislation has “the limited and specific purpose of providing funds for authorized programs.” She went on to state, “A law may be construed to make an appropriation out of the Treasury . . . only if the law specifically states that an appropriation is made.”). It is well established that “a direction to pay without a designation of the source of funds is not an appropriation.”
Federal judge Collyer pointed out, “the law is “clear,” and money was not allocated for that program.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, predicted on Thursday that the Republicans will lose the decision on appeal, reported Fox News. When and if appealed, the case will be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.