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Federal Judge Refuses to Force Payment of Obamacare Subsidies

Federal Judge Refuses to Force Payment of Obamacare Subsidies

Wednesday, a federal judge refused to force the Trump administration to make subsidy payments.

From Politico:

A federal judge denied a request to immediately force the Trump administration to continue making the Obamacare insurance subsidy payments that it cut off earlier this month.

U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria ruled Wednesday against an emergency order to require that the payments continue to be made while a lawsuit filed by 18 states and the District of Columbia over the so-called cost-sharing reduction payments works its way through the courts.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration indicated they could not lawfully continue making subsidy payments to health insurance provided participating in Obamacare. Remember, at the time, Congress had not appropriated funds for subsidies.

Then, I blogged:

Congress has yet to appropriate funds for subsidies given to health insurance providers that offer Obamacare plans. Failure to subsidize these plans spells the end of Obamacare as we know it.

…About 7 million Americans receive a subsidy for their health insurance purchased through an Obamacare exchange.

Insurance companies participating in Obamacare exchanged have been losing copious amounts of cash, which is why exchanges have collapsed as insurers continue their mass exodus into more profitable ventures. Participating insurers have received bailout after bailout by way of subsidy from the federal government to offset loss incurred by selling Obamacare plans.

When Trump floated yanking subsidies last spring, speculation suggested insurers would pass that cost on to the rest of the insurance pool, effectively raising premiums across the board. So it makes sense that Trump would first create a mechanism for the market to find cheaper alternatives (Thursday’s Executive Order) before cutting insurers off the government dole.

Lost in the fear-mongering about sweeping premium increases is how much every tax payer has been involuntarily feeding participating insurers through these Obama-era federal bailouts.

…every person contributing to the federal tax coffers is already paying to offset the loss of a failing market, artificially propped up by government stilts. Removing them will create temporary uncertainty as the market adjusts, but there’s no reason (aside from politicalization of the issue) to believe anyone will die or health insurance will be unaffordable because of Trump’s recent decisions. Quite the contrary.

This is far better a result than anything Congress has coughed up this year.

And it’s still true. We’re nearing the end of the 2017 session and even with majorities in both houses, Congress has yet mount any serious attempt to repeal Obamacare.

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today just keeps getting better…. 😎

is anyone tired of winning yet?

ugottabekiddinme | October 25, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Imagine that!! A judge actually refusing to force President Trump to commit an action unsupported by any appropriation or other law. And the usual suspects are apoplectic. MAGA

Estoppel does not trump the Constitution? Who knew?

    Milhouse in reply to Rick. | October 26, 2017 at 1:54 am

    I’ve got even bigger news for you; the elephant in the US legal room that everyone but Justice Thomas refuses to see:

    nor does stare decisis.

      RedEchos in reply to Milhouse. | October 26, 2017 at 8:09 pm

      What I have learned about law I have picked up here. What does this mean?

        Milhouse in reply to RedEchos. | October 27, 2017 at 2:03 pm

        Stare decisis means “let the decision stand”, i.e. the courts should honor their own precedents, and those of superior courts. Once a question has been decided by the court, it should not be revisited. Which is fine when it comes to statutory interpretation, but when applied to the constitution it amounts to letting judges amend the constitution. If a previous court’s decision contradicts the constitution, then it should not be allowed to stand; it must be reversed because it’s unconstitutional, just like a statute that contradicts the constitution.

        But every justice, even Scalia, is too scared of the implications to face this, so they pretend it’s not there. Only Thomas has had the courage to point at it and say “Look, there’s an elephant! Making a mess on the carpet!”

So …

Obamacare required millions of people who—rightly or wrongly—didn’t believe that they needed health insurance to pay for it anyway. This should have been pure profit to the insurance industry. (More people paying in) + (negligible increase in claim payments) = (pigs in clover).

And …

Insurers incur more losses after Obamacare than before, to the point that the whole thing requires Federal cash infusions to prop it up.

These two are inconsistent. In fact, they should be mutually exclusive. Even if the system was designed to fail, thus prompting public demands for “single payer” and the advent of the socialist dream, this particular failure mode shouldn’t be possible.

Ergo …

One of the postulates is incorrect …

Or …

The situation is much worse that we’ve been led to believe, and worse in ways we aren’t being told about.

In either case, killing it dead still seems to be the optimal move. Even if (or particularly if) Congress doesn’t want to be the one to do it.

    Milhouse in reply to tom_swift. | October 26, 2017 at 2:07 am

    Obamacare didn’t require millions of people who—rightly or wrongly—didn’t believe that they needed health insurance to pay for it anyway. As the Supreme Court found in NFIB v Sibelus, despite all the talk of a “mandate” the PPACA as enacted does not contain any such thing. Instead it gives people a choice between buying insurance and paying a moderate, easily affordable tax. It is perfectly lawful to choose to pay the tax rather than buy the insurance, and for millions of people this is the rational choice for them to make. In fact the CBO expected so many people to do so that by 2017 the tax would generate $4 billion a year.

    There’s the explanation for the gap.

      “As the Supreme Court found in NFIB v Sibelus, despite all the talk of plain language specifying a “mandate” the PPACA as enacted rewritten unconstitutionally by the Supreme Court does not contain any such thing.”

      Dishonesty corrected.

        Milhouse in reply to SDN. | October 26, 2017 at 8:08 am

        You’re the dishonest one. Have you even read the decision? If you haven’t you have no right to comment on it.

          mailman in reply to Milhouse. | October 26, 2017 at 10:18 am

          The problem here is Black Baby Jesus Care forced people to buy something they didn’t want buy to start with or they were FORCED to pay a penalty (that only through extreme torturing of the words by Roberts was it twisted in to being legally enforceable).

          You can fuck about with the wording as much as you won’t but it doesn’t change the fact people were FORCED to buy health insurance on pain of financial penalty. Lets not even go in to the worth of buying insurance that doesn’t actually provide you with any health benefits because the deductibles render it worthless.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | October 26, 2017 at 7:07 pm

          No, they were not forced to buy it. That’s the whole point of the decision, and unless you’ve read it you have no right to comment on it. It is perfectly lawful to choose to pay the tax instead of buying insurance, and millions were expected to make that choice, which completely answers tom_swift’s question, which was how the insurers managed to lose money and need subsidies. The more people choose to pay the tax, the less money the insurers make, and the greater the subsidy they need, which is funded by the tax; but unless Congress appropriates that money it’s illegal to disburse it.

          mailman in reply to Milhouse. | October 28, 2017 at 3:15 pm

          “Im from the Government, Im here to help you and Im most definitely NOT forcing you to buy health insurance because Im giving you the choice of being financially penalised IF you don’t buy this health insurance that Im not forcing you to buy against your will”.

          Right Millhouse….no one is being FORCED to buy health insurance HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA

Not to worry, paul ryan will probably sneak it into the budget like he’s supposedly doing with daca.

    puhiawa in reply to 4fun. | October 25, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    Not just DACA. According to today’s news, it is an endless DACA with the full endless immigration ladder. America will be Puerto Rico in 20 years.

Guess they could go to Hawaii and get Judge “King Roy Beam” Watson to go ahead and order the payments.Heck. Watson will order Congress to pass the payments.

“We’re nearing the end of the 2017 session and even with majorities in both houses, Congress has yet mount any serious attempt to repeal Obamacare.”

Congress never wanted to repeal Obamacare. The GOPe were lying to us for the last 7 years. Notice how none of the defectors were ever punished.

Nothing will improve in this country until the GOPe is removed from power, and that won’t happen until McConnell is removed from the Leadership.

I hope you’re having a happy holiday, Milhouse what with this being the anniversary of Lerte Gulf.

I am really confused. One of the hallmarks of a fascist government is where there is private ownership of businesses and the government effectively runs those businesses. Likewise, the government tells the people what to buy, controls the media so the people here what the government allows, and so forth.
By its very definition, Obamacare is a fascist endeavor. By making it harder for Obamacare to survive, you’s think Antifa, BLM, all the SJWs, and others in the liberal camp who are so vehemently against fascism would be rejoicing over this action and yet they are not. This is just so confusing…..

    Tom Servo in reply to Cleetus. | October 26, 2017 at 6:02 am

    here’s a secret that everyone knows: modern day “liberalism” IS fascism.

    Just like that “anti” in “antifa” actually means “Pro”.

    Once you realize that a liberal lies in every single sentence that they say, and that the truth is automatically the mirror image of whatever they proclaim, then the rest becomes easy.

    Example of a Big Lie: Donald Trump colluded with Russia to win the election.

    What actually happened: Hillary Clinton colluded with Russia to steal $145 million while she was Sec of State in order to try to win the election.

    and so on, and so forth.

This is why it’s so important to get the right judges in, which is what Trump is getting done despite the resistance from the swamp.

If the government must subsidize health care costs, why don’t they provide the money directly to the health care providers rather than to the insurance companies? If the government helped defray the operating costs of hospitals and clinics and helped pay for capital costs of medical equipment, building construction and expansion, the bill to the patients would be less and the insurance premiums could be reduced.

Ok I might be a little slow but why are they suing in the wrong court?

U.S. Constitution – Article 3 Section 2 Paragraph 2

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

Why has the judge not dismissed for lack of jurisdiction ex proprio motu.

My my my!! So its now absolutely clear that the governnment has had to support medical insurance so that the average company can provide average coverage. Why not just admit that it would be cheaper to just have the government provide insurance for every person. One payer, one premium scheme. Just like the rest of the western world. All those commie socialist bastards in France, Denmark, Canada etc who pay half what we pay and get better coverage and better health outcomes. OH no we won’t go there. I stand strong and free and alone! I can pull my self up by my bootstraps and buy my own coverage (with behind the scenes government subsidies.) What a joke we are.

“Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame and danger that their acts would otherwise involve… But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn’t belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish that law without delay – No legal plunder; this is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony and logic.”
― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

So, the insurance industry is regulated. It seems time for pricing reform. Restore the market!