U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer ruled Sept. 9 that congressional Republicans can proceed with a lawsuit against Obama administration over health-care spending.
House Republicans claim that Obama administration unconstitutionally spent taxpayer money on health insurance since it didn’t ask for Congress’ permission first. Congressional Republicans are especially upset about the $175 billion spent by the government on reimbursing insurers for offering more affordable health care to low-income Americans.
While the House claims that it never gave its approval for that expenditure, Obama administration argues that it relied on previously allocated money it had the permission to use.
Judge Collyer argued in her ruling that the Congress would “suffer concrete injury” if the federal government was allowed to withdraw and allocate funds from the U.S. Treasury without its permission.
The Justice Department announced that it would appeal the ruling.
The suit against the Treasury and Health and Human Services was first filed in 2014. Back then, critics claimed that the lawsuit was a desperate move made by GOP to destroy Obamacare after previous similar attempts had failed in Congress.
So far, the House attempted to repel the President’ signature health care law 50 times, but the efforts were stymied by the U.S. Senate.
House Speaker John Boehner said that the aforementioned executive actions were a “historic overreach” and he was eager for the lawsuit to proceed. Nevertheless, the federal judge explained that her ruling was only related to procedural law. Plaintiffs still need to prove that the accusations are true.
The White House back lashed and said that House Republicans shouldn’t engage in “garden-variety disputes” with the federal government in nation’s courts. A spokesperson for the Obama administration deemed the lawsuit a “partisan attack” with no real basis.
Democrats also said that the suit was a partisan attack and claimed that the President acted constitutionally. Some law experts are also skeptic that Republicans can win this case.
Obamacare allows low-income individuals to have access to federal subsidies when trying to pay for their medical costs. These subsidies have many forms, but the most common types are insurance deductibles and co-payments.
This year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld premium subsidies in all states under concerns that undermining Obamacare would throw the nation into an insurance death spiral. But the House argues that premium subsidies and cost-sharing subsidies are two different legal concepts.
The latter need to be approved by Congress every year, Congressional Republicans claim, while the White House said that the Treasury has the full authority of giving the funds for the subsidies without congressional approval.
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