This is a big deal.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in D.C. ruled yesterday evening that state attorneys general can intervene to defend the cost-sharing subsidies (CSR payments) included in Obamacare, the program that Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to cut off.
This is significant because without the intervention of state attorneys, it would be left to Trump's Justice Department to defend the subsidies in court against a still-spending lawsuit against them filed by House Republicans.
The case, which dates back to administration of President Barack Obama, was filed by the Republican-led House of Representatives against the federal government in an effort to block the subsidy payments to insurers for the individual plans created by the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
The court's order allows Democrats who back the law to have a say in the legal fight, giving them the power to block a settlement or appeal a ruling blocking the payments. They can also file briefs and their lawyers can participate in oral arguments.
Anyone who has paid even a little bit of attention should been skeptical of the Trump regime's willingness to mount a meaningful defense of a program they've threatened to cut off.
If the cost-sharing subsidies are ultimately cut off, insurance will become unaffordable for a large number of people and insurers may exit more markets.
Cutting off CSR payments would also increase costs for the federal government under current law because the government's share of premium subsidies for individual insurance policies would automatically increase.
In addition to state attorneys general, California's insurance commissioner Dave Jones has also indicated that he will sue the Trump regime if they arbitrarily cut off CSR payments. I doubt he'll be alone.
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) August 2, 2017