It can’t be pleasant for President Obama these days. As if it wasn’t bad enough that he personally got shellacked on November 8th, as Americans overwhelmingly rejected his legacy, he’s now watching everything he
did to try to transform destroy America worked so hard for in between golf rounds be dismantled, even as he’s still president.
The president’s signature achievement, the health insurance debacle that bears his name, is the center of the bullseye for Obama legacies the incoming Trump administration is targeting for its own “transformation.”
And today, a federal court just dealt another huge blow to President Obama.
As US News & World Report reports:
A federal appeals court said Monday it is delaying a case against President Barack Obama’s health care law, positioning President-elect Donald Trump to take one of the most straightforward actions that will be available to him to unravel the Affordable Care Act.
The Obama administration earlier this year appealed a lower court’s decision in the case, House v. Burwell, seeking to preserve its ability to allot billions in funding to health insurance companies to help cover the costs of insuring low-income people.
But Monday’s order in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit placing the case on hold presents Trump with the opportunity to drop the appeal after he takes office – a move that would be a significant step toward fulfilling his stated agenda to repeal and replace Obamacare.
The case, first brought by House Republican lawmakers in 2014, charges that the Obama administration unconstitutionally gave billions of dollars to insurers that Congress hadn’t formally appropriated. The money was intended to help blunt costs incurred by insurance companies for providing reduced out-of-pocket health care costs for low-income policy holders, as required by the Affordable Care Act.
U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled in favor of House Republicans in May, writing that the appropriation “cannot be inferred” and that the payments to insurers were a violation of the Constitution.
Imagine that — the Obama administration violating the Constitution.
But here’s the really rich part: the Obama administration challenged this, filing an opening appellate brief in October, arguing in part against the lower court’s “unprecedented” move allowing one chamber of Congress to pursue litigation to resolve a political dispute. How DARE Congress challenge the
imperial will unconstitutional overreach of King President Obama’s executive branch! (Ironic, too, that it was the executive branch strong-arming the judicial branch which resulted in SCOTUS/Chief Justice John Roberts twisting themselves into a pretzel to give Obamacare a green light.)
“Disagreements between the political branches are resolved through the political process, not through litigation instigated by a single House of Congress,” the brief states. “The district court’s decision fundamentally undermines that constitutional design and would vastly expand the role of the judicial branch, enmeshing courts in a limitless number of political disputes.”
Argued by Democrats without a trace of irony.
Last month, House Republicans asked the appeals court to delay further proceedings in the lawsuit until late February, saying the nation’s health care policies likely would be changing with the incoming administration.
“The relatively short stay requested … would provide the incoming president and his appointed officials time to decide whether withdrawal or settlement of the appeal is warranted,” attorneys wrote in the motion. “In light of public statements by the president-elect and his campaign, there is at least a significant possibility of a meaningful change in policy in the new administration that could either obviate the need for resolution of this appeal or affect the nature and scope of the issues presented for review.”
A move to drop the appeal, coupled with no replacement mechanism for the cost-sharing funds, would keep payments from going to insurers and result in companies losing money they expected to receive when they priced insurance policies, raising the likely prospect of them withdrawing from the exchanges and undermining the overall viability of Obamacare and the insurance market.
In other words, yep, Obamacare is toast.
If it’s any consolation to the president, he can still put Obamacare in his presidential library — just categorized under “failed signature policies.”
[This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]