Healthcare

Judge Rules Against Obamacare Cost-Sharing, Republicans Call it a Victory

One element of Obamacare that keeps costs down for average people is a mechanism that redistributes funds from one insurer to another if the latter is covering more sick patients than the former.

This mechanism keeps costs down for both patients and insurers, but Republicans have called it a "bailout" of insurers and now a federal judge has ruled in their favor against it.

At stake is $175 billion the government is paying over a decade to reimburse health insurers for reducing co-payments for lower-income people.

The House argued that Congress never specifically appropriated that money and has denied the administration's request for it. It says the administration is spending the money anyway, exceeding its constitutional authority. The administration has said it is using other, previously approved money.

This GOP "victory," which has already been hailed by Speaker Ryan, would ultimately lead to significantly higher costs for average Americans if the ruling were upheld. Yay?

I don't expect it will be. The cost-sharing program will continue to function as it has for the last several years while the case is appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in D.C.

It's entirely possible Obamacare will head back to the Supreme Court for a 3rd time unless the 4th Circuit overturns the lower court ruling and the Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal.

Republicans claim they hate "activist" judges who legislate from the bench, but the story of the last six years has been House Republicans asking the courts to hand them victories they were unable to win in Congress. They will praise today's ruling, but they'll scream bloody murder when the next court overturns the ruling and puts the policy on even firmer footing than it previously stood on.

  • muselet

    The sad thing is that reflexive Republicans, the ones who would vote for Satan if he had an R after his name, will cheer themselves hoarse over this relatively minor victory even though their insurance premiums will rise as a result.

    Some people simply handle reality well.

    –alopecia

    • Did you mean, “don’t” handle reality well?

      • muselet

        You’re right, of course.

        –alopecia

    • john fremont

      Remember, this party used the Death Panels story to campaign against the ACA, and yet are indifferent about the uninsured in their own states who can’t buy policies because the state has opted out of Medicaid expansion.