Settlement Reached in Partisan Lawsuit Over Obamacare Subsidies

By and | December 18, 2017

A long-running lawsuit between the Trump administration, House Republicans and Democratic attorneys general over billions of dollars of Obamacare subsidies has been settled, according to an agreement filed in federal court Friday.

The settlement agreement, details of which weren’t available in the filings but described as “conditional,” could pave the way for eventual payment of the cost-sharing reduction payments, or CSRs. The CSRs had been paid to health insurers as a way to subsidize some lower-income patients’ insurance co-payments and deductibles, allowing them easier access to health care.

The Trump administration had stopped making the payments, throwing the Affordable Care Act’s markets into chaos and causing premiums to rise, and state Democratic attorneys general continued the legal effort to try and preserve the subsidies.

The White House, Justice Department and several offices for Democratic attorneys general either didn’t respond to requests for comment or declined to comment late Friday.

The agreement comes within hours of Republicans’ release of their package of individual and business tax cuts.

Republican leadership in the Senate had promised Maine Senator Susan Collins they would allow a vote on a bill to fund the CSR payments as part of a deal to win her vote on the tax package. While the measure had support in the Senate, it was expected to be an obstacle in the House.

The case is U.S. House of Representatives v. Hargan, 16-5202, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit (Washington).

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