Overshadowed by the arrival of Donald Trump on Capitol Hill, a federal judge ruled on Thursday that the Obama Administration has been spending money to reimburse insurance companies without the approval of Congress, dealing a major setback to the Obama health law.
“Today’s ruling by the DC federal court is an important step toward restoring the separation of powers and stopping President Obama’s power grab,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
“BIG win for the Constitution,” tweeted House Speaker Paul Ryan, as he and other Republicans celebrated an initial victory in a lawsuit that was brought by former Speaker John Boehner.
At issue is Section 1402 of the health law, which would give money to health insurance companies, in order to help pay for health care subsidies awarded to people buying insurance through the federal and state exchanges.
Republicans argued that under the Constitution, the Congress controls the purse strings – and since no money had been approved for that purpose in recent years, the Obama Administration was wrongly spending money to reimburse insurance companies.
Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer agreed, granting summary judgment to the House of Representatives, and the GOP.
“Congress is the only source for such an appropriation,” the judge wrote.
The judge put her decision on hold – as an appeal by the Obama Administration is fully expected.
You can read the judge’s full ruling here.
It is estimated that the feds will spend $175 billion over ten years on those payments.