The Insurance Subsidies Trump Cancelled Were Outright Illegal. They Should Never Have Existed

CONGRESS NEVER AUTHORIZED INSURANCE COMPANY SUBSIDIES; OBAMA ORDERED TREASURY TO MAKE THEM ANYWAY Editorial by Kevin Ryan

The media uproar over President Trump’s cancellation of the Obamacare “Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments” to insurance companies has largely overlooked one major fact.

They were illegal.

The Constitution exclusively grants Congress the power to appropriate funds. Presidents can propose all the spending they want, but unless Congress authorizes it, it’s illegal.

The Affordable Care Act told insurers to reduce co-pays and deductibles and said the government would repay them via taxpayer funded subsidies. But it was up to Congress to actually approve those subsidies at a later time. Unfortunately for the Obamacare architects, in 2012 voters (many upset at the hugely unpopular Affordable Care Act) kicked Democrats out of the House before the subsidies could be approved. And the new Republican congress refused to OK the payments.

But then-President Barack Obama sent the checks anyway.

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If you’re a Democrat, think about that for a minute. It’d be like President Trump telling Treasury to pay for his wall with Mexico even though congress hasn’t fully approved the funding.

And in 2016 the courts agreed that these subsidies to insurance companies were illegal. But the Obama Administration continued them anyways, drawing out a long appeal which was still before the courts when President Trump finally cancelled them.

Hate him all you want, but President Trump just protected one of the most important separation of powers in the U.S. Constitution: the prohibition against the executive branch unilaterally spending taxpayer money. And Democrats, Republicans, and all Americans should actually be thankful for that, regardless of how they feel about President Trump or the Affordable Care Act.

SOURCES:

Healthaffairs

NYPost

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