Free Markets, Free People

First shot in a successful Constitutional war against ObamaCare?

We can only hope so … but then, one should remember that John Roberts sold his soul and his intellectual reputation to make payment for it into a tax.  So we shall see.  But some heartening news today if you’re someone who believes those in government should be held to the Constitution’s restrictions on government.

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.

Collyer’s decision doesn’t immediately go into effect, however, so that the administration can appeal it.

“This is an historic win for the Constitution and the American people,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement. “The court ruled that the administration overreached by spending taxpayer money without approval from the people’s representatives.”
At issue are billions of dollars paid to insurance companies participating in ObamaCare so they can reduce customers’ out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles for low-income people.

The House GOP argued that the administration was unconstitutionally spending money on these payments without Congress’s approval.

Of course that’s an almost daily occurrence for the past few decades.  The lines have blurred and no one is held accountable. Oversight? What a joke.

How far this will go and whether the decision will be upheld is a mystery at this point, but not much of one … see again the first sentence.

The administration, of course, had an answer:

But the administration said it did not need an appropriation from Congress because the funds were already guaranteed by the healthcare reform law in the same section as its better-known tax credits that help people pay for coverage.

Yup, the executive needs no permission to spend your money anymore, just as he or she no longer needs permission to wage war.  Blurred lines becoming even blurrier.  Separation of powers?  Get real.

Imperial presidency?  For quite a while.  The Judge, though, wasn’t buying the explanation:

Collyer ruled that the section only appropriated funds for tax credits and said the cost sharing reductions require a separate congressional appropriation, which the administration does not currently have.

“Such an appropriation cannot be inferred,” Collyer wrote. “None of Secretaries’ extra-textual arguments — whether based on economics, ‘unintended’ results, or legislative history — is persuasive. The Court will enter judgment in favor of the House of Representatives and enjoin the use of unappropriated monies to fund reimbursements due to insurers under Section 1402.”

Good for her. It won’t dismantle the dreadful system, but it does take another chink out of its funding. It’s a start.  But whether the start will later faulter and fail to be upheld is still to be seen.  In today’s world, unfortunately, the likelihood of that sort of a failure is much more prevalent than had this ruling come down 40 or 50 years ago when most people still believed in a much more limited government constrained by the Constitution.

Brave new world … one that promises to be much like the old and oppressive world if some have their way.


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13 Responses to First shot in a successful Constitutional war against ObamaCare?

  • It was a rotting pile of garbage the day it was passed.

    And nothing less than legislative violence.

    • I bet there was a loud ObamaSwear coming from the White House today.

      • Only the Loyal Staff and the apologists care about things like that. Obama has his eye on the entire thing collapsing and another layer of government being rushed in to cover for it.

      • I bet there was a loud ObamaSwear coming from the White House today.

        —Why? Did he bogey the par 4 hole again??

  • But there was a stay on the ruling right? So the thievery will continue in normal Obama admin fashion, and they’ll continue to get to break the law while they challenge it.

    Or do I misunderstand the net effect of the stay order, especially given this administrations willful disregard for unfavorable judicial findings?

    • The money is fungible. The insurance companies still run the risk of having to repay the funds to CMS, so they shouldn’t get too comfortable with the ‘stay.’

  • Under provisions of ObamaCare “risk corridors,” if insurers’ expenses exceed 103 percent of their projected costs, the federal government would be required to reimburse half of those payments.

    The problem is the law’s vague language does not actually give the Department of Health and Human Services legal authority to fund the program — meaning Congress must get involved. That’s according to a legal opinion released in 2014 by the Government Accountability Office, which said that in order for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to use general funds for the risk corridors — Congress must adopt language spelling that out in CMS’s future appropriations.

    Now, at least one court has agreed with the analysis of GAO.

    This is the legacy of “entitlement” programs that aren’t specifically appropriated with specific amounts each year. The Obama Administration merely tried to “ride the coattails” of other open-ended CMS funding (along with a series of other administrative inventions).

    • Huh, what a pity they didn’t know this wasn’t funded until they signed it eh?

      That Nancy Pelosi, what a card.

      • You have to hand it to Marco Rubio for making sure (at least) the last two budgets explicitly excluded money for the “risk corridors”.

        This subject is so “cut and dried” that any judge who sides with the Administration should be impeached.

        • Is declaring a penalty to be a tax one of those cut/dried things? 🙂

          Just askin.

          • “declaring a penalty to be a tax” is a violation of the 9th Amendment

          • And there sits John Roberts.
            I’ve seen an argument that Roberts “thought through the real world effects of the ruling”.
            Based on his obvious concern for how a ruling against would cause turmoil, I’m inclined to think it’s good John Roberts was not asked to rule on the legality of continuing slavery in America.

    • Overall, I think the sentiment – “oh what a tangled web” rhyme is in full force for Mr. Obama’s ‘signature legislation’.

      The number of shady scurrilous dealings peaked in this legislation, appropriate for an administration that is a case history for a perfect storm of national insanity.

      From a bill gutted and recast by the Senate, to the Constitutional problems IN the bill itself, to the pen and phone bozo who signed it, to the Supreme Court justice who put it on life support.