Seth Connell writes that early on Friday morning, TFPP reported that President Donald Trump is planning on a new executive order that will end subsidies to insurance companies to reduce costs of Obamacare exchange insurance plans. The order will withdraw funds that Congress has not approved, and AG Jeff Sessions is defending the order as the right move.
Sessions was interview on Fox and Friends on Friday morning. Host Steve Doocy asked Sessions about the fact that the Obama administration had authorized over $7 billion to be given to insurance companies to reduce rates for consumers. However, Congress had not authorized that money to go to the insurance companies, and Republicans have criticized the grants as being nothing more than insurance company bailouts.
Doocy asked Sessions, “All right. So, I know members of the Republican Party have referred to these as bailouts to the insurance industry to the tune of $7 billion. Tell us a little bit about why did the administration look to the Department of Justice on guidance on what to do regarding this?”
In reply, Sessions stated that both a federal judge, and the Congressional Research Service have concluded that the money has to be appropriated by Congress.
“There’s been controversy from the beginning. Just one of many problems with this Rube-Goldberg health care plan. The question was, Steve, can you actually — the President, the executive branch, spend $7 billion a year to subsidize these insurance companies without an appropriation of Congress? It is clear, we believe, that the appropriation must come from Congress. The President cannot do it. A federal judge has already held that is the case. The Congressional Research Service has also held that some time ago. So the President has decided that we need to end this process and get on lawful basis.”
Sessions did state that the appropriation mechanism was in the original bill, but that Congress had not actually used it to authorize payments; hence, why President Obama’s grants to the insurance companies are seen as illegal (currently the subject of litigation in federal court).
Doocy asked, “Mr. Attorney General, explain this to me. When ObamaCare passed a number of years ago, this wasn’t in there. How did they just invent it?”
Sessions replied stating, “I think it was in there but, originally, the President asked Congress to appropriate the money. He had difficulties with that, so they just started spending the money on their own. The executive branch cannot spend money under the Constitution that the legislative branch has not appropriated.”
Watch more of the interview below:
In a letter dated October 11, the Justice Department wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services that all payments should be stopped. That letter was included in a court filing, showing the DOJ’s latest action on the issue, as it is being litigated.
The Executive Branch submits this notice to inform the Court that the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has directed that cost-sharing reduction payments be stopped because it has determined that those payments are not funded by the permanent appropriation for “refunding internal revenue collections,” 31 U.S.C. § 1324, or by any other appropriation.
According to BuzzFeed, Democratic Attorneys General are already preparing legal action against the DOJ for ending the subsidies.
In a sane world, the idea of taking the government to court over ending an illegal program is simply unfathomable, but this is the United States in 2017; facts, truth, and the rule of law need not apply as long as one is advancing a Left-wing cause.
It’s not terribly surprising though, as ending the subsidies will seriously cripple the Obamacare program overall. THe Democrats who got this monstrosity thrust upon us cannot allow their biggest achievement to collapse, further damaging the already hampered party.
The law is already collapsing under its own weight, but the ending of subsidies (illegal bailouts) to insurance companies could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.