Attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia filed in lawsuit in San Francisco federal court against President Trump’s decision to stop the Department of Health and Human Services from making cost-sharing payments to Obamacare insurers.
Arguing for the states, California deputy solicitor general Greg Brown, told Judge Chhabria that the issue is urgent because failing to make the payments on time will disrupt the insurance markets, which were already experiencing major instability before Trump’s announcement.
According to Politico, Brown said, “It injects a large amount of chaos into the health care system,” and he told the judge that a two-week delay would be injurious because open enrollment is set to begin November 1st. “Even a two-week delay would, we believe, cause fewer people to be insured,” added Brown.
James Burnham, representing the Justice Department (and therefore Trump) argued that the federal government would be harmed by “the expenditure of $600 million every month that we believe Congress has not appropriated.” Burnham also suggested that Chhabria would be undermining federal judges in Washington, D.C. if he issued the restraining order as requested.
The payments that Donald Trump announced the federal government would halt are payments that insurers receive as a type of subsidy, or reimbursement for lowering the deductibles and co-payments for low-income Obamacare enrollees.
Experts have warned that insurers are likely to raise prices if the subsidies are discontinued because they are still required to lower out-of-pocket costs for poor enrollees.
Ultimately Chhabria has scheduled a hearing for Saturday at 2PM PST, and is requesting the government file its arguments against the restraining order by Friday morning while states (and other interested party) may file additional briefs up until Saturday morning.
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