Federal appeals court stalls CSR lawsuit settlement
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The litigation challenging the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing reduction payments for insurers has hit another stumbling block, this time in the courts.
Three judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit have delayed consideration of a settlement ending the CSR litigation. The GOP-led U.S. House of Representatives, executive branch and 19 Democratic state attorneys generals reached the agreement in December, which would allow the state attorneys general to continue a separate lawsuit against the Trump administration in California federal court over the subsidies without House Republicans' involvement.
But the judges have asked the parties to explain the "exceptional circumstances" cited when the House essentially bowed out of the original lawsuit that Republican leadership filed to block the Obama administration from making the CSR payments.
The House won the first ruling in May 2016, but the case has been stuck in the appellate court ever since President Donald Trump took office. The fate of the payments remained in flux as the House and administration asked the court to keep the case in abeyance as congressional Republicans sought to repeal the ACA.
Trump ultimately cut off CSRs starting Oct. 1, triggering a scramble in Congress by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to assemble legislation that would authorize the payments as many conservatives stayed vocally opposed to reinstating them.
Before the effort to repeal the ACA had died, Democratic state attorneys general filed their own suit to force the administration to pay the CSRs. In late October, a federal judge in California ruled in favor of the Trump administration.
Under the tentative settlement, the attorneys general would pursue the CSRs via the California appeal.
As of deadline, HHS had not responded to a request for comment about the order.
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