U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer has ruled the federal government has been unconstitutionally paying out certain Obamacare subsidies/reimbursements, which House Republicans sued to stop. The lawsuit, filed in July 2014, argues the Obama administration is illegally spending money that was never allocated by Congress.
At issue was a $175 million program authorizing payments to insurers that Republicans claimed were not appropriated by Congress. On the question of whether the money could be distributed anyway under another program, Collyer wrote in her opinion: “It cannot.”
“None of the Secretaries’ extra-textual arguments – whether based on economics, 'unintended' results, or legislative history – is persuasive,” she wrote. “The Court will enter judgment in favor of the House of Representatives and enjoin the use of unappropriated monies to fund reimbursements due to insurers” under that section.
Collyer said the law is "clear," and money was not allocated for that program.
She then said she would stay the injunction, giving the administration a chance to appeal.
The controversial payments to insurers were meant to reimburse them over a decade to reduce co-payments for lower-income people.
The TL;DR version of today's Obamacare decision: the Obama administration cannot spend money that Congress didn't appropriate.— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) May 12, 2016
(1) Suit could only be filed after payments to insurers were made.— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) May 12, 2016
(2) That was in 2014.
(3) Suit filed July 2014. https://t.co/qu61x9x2PB
The White House has issued a response is will appeal the ruling:
WH's Earnest on Obamacare lawsuit. Says it represents the 1st time Congress has been permitted to sue exec branch over a law disagreement— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) May 12, 2016
WH's Earnest on Hse GOP Obamacare lawsuit: They've been losing for 6 years and they'll lose it again— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) May 12, 2016
This post has been updated with additional information.