‘For those who thought that the lawsuits challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) were at an end, think again. On September 9, Judge Rosemary Collyer of the federal district court for the District of Columbia refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the entire U.S. House of Representatives against the Obama administration over its funding of certain aspects of Obamacare.
This is a historic lawsuit and a historic decision. In the past, individual members of Congress have filed a number of (unsuccessful) lawsuits against sitting administrations. But this is one of the few occasions when such a suit has been pursued by the entire House of Representatives as an institution.
Adopted on July 30, 2014, House Resolution 676 authorized the speaker to file suit. On January 6, 2015, the House in the new 114th Congress adopted HR 5, authorizing itself to succeed the 113thHouse as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
The challenge by the House makes two claims against the Obama administration and specifically Sylvia Burwell, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Jacob Lew, the secretary of the Treasury. First, that the administration has spent “billions of unappropriated dollars to support” Obamacare. Second, that the administration “effectively amended the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate by delaying its effect and narrowing its scope.”
According to Judge Collyer, Section 1402 of Obamacare “requires insurers to reduce the cost of insurance to certain, eligible statutory beneficiaries” and the “federal government then offsets the added costs to insurance companies by reimbursing them with funds from the Treasury.” While certain other credits in Obamacare are paid through a permanent appropriation in the Internal Revenue Code, these “Section 1402 Cost-Sharing Offsets must be funded and re-funded by annual, current appropriations.”
The House claims it has never appropriated any funds for §1402, yet the administration “nonetheless drew and spent public monies on that program beginning in January 2014.” This violates Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the U.S. Constitution, which states that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”’ - This New Lawsuit Against Obamacare Has Legs, Daily Signal, 09/25/2015
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