Court allows Democratic states to defend Obamacare payments

August 1, 2017

Court allows Democratic states to defend Obamacare payments

REUTERS

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday allowed Democratic state attorneys general to defend subsidy payments to insurance companies under the Obamacare healthcare law, a critical part of funding for the statute that President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted a motion filed by the 16 attorneys general, led by California's Xavier Becerra and New York's Eric Schneiderman.

President Donald Trump, frustrated that he and fellow Republicans in Congress have been unable to keep campaign promises to repeal and replace Obamacare, has threatened to stop making the so-called cost-sharing subsidy, or CSR, payments.

The order issued by the three-judge panel, all Obama appointees, said the states had shown "a substantial risk that an injunction requiring termination of the payments at issue here ... would lead directly and imminently to an increase in insurance prices, which in turn will increase the number of uninsured individuals for whom the states will have to provide health care."

Nicholas Bagley, IHPI member and U-M Law School professor, said the decision was a "big deal" because it makes it difficult for the Trump administration to settle the case.

"Allowing the states to intervene will increase the pressure on the administration to keep making the cost-sharing payments," he said, noting that the administration could still stop making the payments.

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