President Donald Trump's move to cut off critical Obamacare subsidies will almost surely be tied up in the courts for years as Democratic-led states seek injunctions, while insurers seek to recover payments they say they’re owed.
It's impossible to predict whether a judge might order the administration to continue the payments while the lawsuits are heard, but at least some legal experts express doubts.
“Forcing an administration to continue making payments when the president believes there is no appropriation, and when Congress believes there’s no appropriation, would be a pretty extreme move by the court — even if it was a temporary measure," said IHPI member Nicholas Bagley, a professor at the U-M Law School who has written extensively about Obamacare legal issues.
The result is that consumers are likely to be caught holding the bag if their insurers bolt and their Obamacare markets teeter on the verge of collapse. Many will end up paying higher premiums to make up for the shortfall, estimated at $7 billion this year alone. And although most insurers have locked in commitments to participate in the Obamacare markets for 2018, some may re-examine those decisions.