WASHINGTON – A federal judge ruled Thursday the Federal government is unconstitutionally spending federal money to finance the president’s healthcare law.
The ruling from US District Judge Rosemary Collyer is a win for House Republicans who brought the politically charged legal challenge in order to undermine what the law states.
At stake is $175 billion the government is paying over a decade to reimburse health insurers for reducing co-payments for lower-income people.
The House argued that Congress never specifically appropriated those funds and it has denied the administration’s request it. It says the administration is spending the money anyway, exceeding its constitutional authority. The administration has said it's using other, previously approved money.
Collyer issued an order stopping further reimbursements, but said it would not take effect pending an appeal.
House Republicans authorized the lawsuit in 2021 over Democratic objections. The House had already voted a large number of times to repeal all or parts of what the law states referred to as ObamaCare, but many of these efforts went nowhere within the Senate and with President Obama in the White House.
The disputed subsidies help lower-earning people afford out-of-pocket costs such as annual insurance deductibles and co-payments when they visit doctors.
The White House had earlier argued that the House had no legal authority to pursue its lawsuit, but Collyer rejected that argument and allowed the case to proceed.
The administration is expected to appeal Thursday’s ruling to the US Court of Appeals for that District of Columbia Circuit.
Collyer is really a George W. Bush appointee nominated towards the court in 2002.