CNN reported on an interesting bit of blatant hypocrisy from the Republicans on Obamacare. Three years ago, House Republicans sued the Obama White House to block the administration from diverting funds to pay health care insurers to help cover low-income Americans. The House argued that that the cost-sharing reduction payments were illegal because Congress — not the executive branch — had control over allocating spending, and Congress had not appropriated the money.
They won the lawsuit and now control the White House and Congress. But that means they’re facing a deadline to determine how they will do what they sued to stop: spending taxpayer money to insurers to subsidize insurance for low-income Americans.
Republican leaders are acknowledging that they will need to allocate billions of dollars in what are known as cost-sharing reduction payments. They also have to act fast — they need to update the judge in the lawsuit tomorrow — and figure out how to placate insurers and skeptical conservatives.
One of the issues with cost-sharing reductions is that if they aren’t paid, insurers can leave the Obamacare marketplace. Without many choices, that would drive up costs for consumers and likely have devastating political consequences.
Some conservatives say that allocating the money at all would be disingenuous after members railed against the payments for years. They argue that if the market collapsed because the House refused to appropriate CSR payments that would not be the Republicans’ fault.