The Obama administration on Monday will fire its first missive in federal appeals court defending the appropriations used to fund portions of the Affordable Care Act.
A federal judge sided with House Republicans in May, ruling that the administration illegally funneled money to support the ACA cost-sharing provisions even though Congress never appropriated the funds. The federal government appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit over the summer.
In the lower court proceedings, the administration alleged the provisions were linked to congressionally approved tax credits, a move U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer called “most curious and convoluted.” It is likely the administration will ask the D.C. Circuit to determine if House Republicans even had standing to bring the lawsuit.
According to the CMS, approximately 56% of Americans receiving insurance coverage via the ACA exchanges received cost-sharing reductions as of June 2015.
Collyer's decision won't go into effect until the D.C. Circuit rules on the appeal. If the decision is upheld, it could spark another wave of insurer lawsuits against the federal government or hiked insurance premiums.
Oral arguments have not been scheduled, and briefing should last through early December.