Federal Judge Rules Against Obamacare Payments

A U.S. judge on Thursday handed a victory to congressional Republicans who challenged the implementation of a provision of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law involving reimbursements from the government to private health insurers. (Reuters)

At issue is the “cost sharing” provision in the law that requires insurance companies offering health plans through the law to reduce out-of-pocket costs for policy holders who qualify. The government offsets the added costs to insurance companies by reimbursing them. (CNN)

Cost-sharing subsidies reduce consumers’ insurance payments — an important feature of the Affordable Care Act, because deductibles are rising. Under the law, subsidies are available to people who earn between 100% and 250% of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that’s about $24,000 to $61,000.(USA Today)

In a major ruling, Judge Rosemary Collyer, an appointee of President George W. Bush, said the administration does not have the power to spend money on “cost sharing reduction payments” to insurers without an appropriation from Congress. (The Hill)