Health Care

Is a Congressional Bailout of ObamaCare Imminent?

The GOP is faced with whether to fund ACA insurer subsides they refused to fund when Obama was in office.

Political Editors · Aug. 4, 2017

When Senate Republicans failed to repeal and replace the “Affordable” Care Act, they by default committed themselves to upholding the doomed law. And now as the inevitable financial collapse threatens ObamaCare, guess who’s asking for help saving the law from its own disastrous consequences? You guessed it, the Democrats.

Recall back in 2014, Republicans refused to appropriate funds for ObamaCare’s “cost-sharing” subsides for insurers. As a result, Barack Obama chose to go around Congress and spend the money anyway. Republicans sued and last year won a ruling from Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer, who declared that paying “reimbursements without an appropriation thus violates the Constitution.”

Obama appealed to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, but Donald Trump and House Republicans asked for a stay as Congress worked on a repeal and replacement plan. Now that repeal has failed irrespective of how the court rules, Senate Republicans are faced with deciding whether to fund the cost-sharing subsidies or leave the ObamaCare death spiral alone. And there are already a couple of Republicans calling for working with Democrats to come up with a “bipartisan” solution.

At this point the only bipartisan solution that would be somewhat tolerable would be for Republicans to demand that Democrats concede to eliminating the ObamaCare individual and employer mandates as a necessary condition for furthering the funding for the “cost-sharing” subsidies to insurers. If Republicans merely cave without extracting concessions, it will be bad policy, and, unfortunately, par for the course.

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