The Obamacare Drama Just Won’t End

Date: May 17, 2016

A federal court ruling might raise healthcare costs even higher.

Another year, another shifting piece of the Affordable Care Act.

A federal court judge recently ruled that congressionally funded subsidies paid to health insurers were unconstitutional because the House of Representatives did not explicitly appropriate funds for them. House Republicans first filed the lawsuit in 2014, according to The Atlantic


The subsidies are part of a cost-reduction effort meant to alleviate some of the burden for health insurers. The program was scheduled to spend $175 billion in payments over 10 years. Reimbursements will eventually halt unless an appeal overturns U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer’s decision. 

“If her ruling stands, low-income Obamacare customers could see higher co-payments, deductibles, and other costs at doctors’ offices and hospitals,” Bloomberg reported

Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurers are required to provide reductions to policyholders to make insurance more affordable. The Obama administration argued that Section 1402 of the Affordable Care Act—which allows the federal government to provide “periodic and timely” reimbursement to insurers for these reductions—permits the government to spend money as needed to compensate healthcare providers. But Republicans say the payments cannot be made unless funds are specifically appropriated for that purpose, a point Collyer agreed with. 

Obamacare has been a thorn in the side of small business owners since it’s passage, including skyrocketing 2017 premiums, prohibitive regulations, and burdensome mandates. This newest development is expected to create more uncertainty with a law that has already had a bumpy implementation, according to The Hill. 

Collyer stayed her decision while Obama officials appeal, meaning the subsidies will continue for the time being.

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