Sunday, May 15, 2016

It's Obamacare Schadenfreude Day!

Again! Not a lot of news, but some really big news: House GOP wins case against ObamaCare insurer subsidy funding
The Obama administration unlawfully paid billions of dollars to insurance providers under the Affordable Care Act without a funding appropriation from Congress, a federal district judge in Washington ruled on Thursday.
The insurance subsidies were designed to offset discounts that insurers were required to give eligible lower-income Americans under the health care reform law. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said federal agencies could not fund the subsidies through another section of the health care law that allocated money for tax credits.
“Paying out Section 1402 reimbursements without an appropriation thus violates the Constitution,” Collyer wrote. “Congress authorized reduced cost sharing but did not appropriate monies for it, in the FY 2014 budget or since. Congress is the only source for such an appropriation, and no public money can be spent without one.”
That could mean an even faster destabilization of the irrational model at the heart of ObamaCare, of which more in a moment. The preliminary ruling on standing distinguished between subsidies paid to consumers in the exchanges (section 1401), which are statutory obligations through federal tax law, and those paid to insurers (section 1402), which are not part of tax law at all . . .
What! You mean the Obama administration acted unconstitutionally? Whoda thunk?

Ace explains: Federal Judge Rules That Obama's Unconstitutional Seizing of Monies Without Congressional Appropriation to Pay Off His Insurance Industry Stooges Is In Fact Unconstitutional. However, the order is stayed pending appeal. But a win stands on a 4-4 split, right?
The House Republicans had sued the Obama Administration. Obama was -- get this! -- illegally spending money that the House never appropriated to fund Obamacare, specifically, to pay the insurance industry subsidies envisioned in the plan... but not actually appropriated by Congress.

Congress declined to appropriate these monies.

Obama paid the insurers anyway -- utterly illegally.

His theory is that if he wants it hard enough, then all powers of the Constitution flow into him to "fight for the people" or some bullshit.

We'll see what happens on appeal. For now, it's good.

And it just might kill Obamacare.
The administrations response?  The White House was stunned by the ruling and railed against the House for bringing the fight to the courts in the first place.
“This suit represents the first time in our nation’s history that Congress has been permitted to sue the executive branch over a disagreement about how to interpret a statute,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
Congress explained. . .
House Speaker Paul Ryan called the ruling “a historic win for the Constitution and the American people. The court ruled that the administration overreached by spending taxpayer money without approval from the people’s representatives.”
All the while  Obamacare Costs Go Up, Insurers Drop Out and Consumers Get Screwed and Florida insurers seeking double-digit rate hikes under Obamacare. But it's OK because Feds to Pay California to Finance FREE MediCaid Health Care for Illegal Aliens. I mean, someone has to, right? It's not like they can get free health care at home? (Expanded Medicaid was part of Obamare, remember).

House committee: Obama admin official lied to Congress about ObamaCare exchange grant funding
Did a key official in the ObamaCare chain of command lie to Congress about funds recouped from state-based exchanges? Andy Slavitt, acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) testified in a House Energy and Commerce hearing last December that CMS had recouped over $200 million from state-based exchanges (SBEs) that have failed. Further investigation, however, shows that Slavitt’s claim was false — that the actual grant dollars recovered was about a tenth of what he claimed, and that even those dollars were not “recouped,” but just never transmitted in the first place.

The executive summary lays out the details of this misdirection:

The purpose of the December 8, 2015, hearing entitled, “An Overdue Checkup Part II: Examining the ACA’s State Insurance Marketplaces” was to examine how state-based exchanges spent grant dollars, and better understand the sustainability challenges facing the exchanges, and CMS’ role in overseeing the SBEs. In his opening remarks before the committee, Mr. Slavitt testified that “over $200 million of the original grant awards have already been returned to the federal government, and we’re in the process of collecting and returning more.” After the hearing, it was widely reported by the media that CMS recouped over $200 million from failed state exchanges.
. . .
Mr. Slavitt’s testimony misled the committee in two ways: he misstated the amount of grant money returned to the Treasury, and he wrongfully implied that the funds were returned because of improper spending and CMS’ oversight efforts. According to CMS’ chart, CMS recovered a small fraction of the $200 million Mr. Slavitt declared at the committee’s December 8 hearing. In fact, the federal government has only reclaimed $21.5 million from the 17 SBEs. Further, CMS did not “recoup” these dollars. These funds were de-obligated, because the time for the grant had expired or the funds were no longer needed. None of the funds reflect grant dollars recouped by CMS due to improper spending. CMS, however, never corrected or revised Mr. Slavitt’s testimony before the committee. Further, CMS does not appear to have corrected the record with the numerous news outlets that reported CMS recouped $200 million from failed SBEs.
Go figure. In fact, that’s precisely what the House committee concludes happened. Where did the $200 million figure originate? The committee’s press release on their investigation accuses Slavitt of having “adlibbed” the figure. That’s a nicer way of saying he pulled the number out of his nether regions.

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