Congressional leaders react to U.S. District Court’s ruling on healthcare law subsidies paid to insurance companies

A U.S. District Court ruled on Thursday that the Obama administration broke the law by sending billions to insurance companies to subsidize the Affordable Care Act without a congressional appropriation.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has been leading an investigation into the legality of the healthcare law’s Cost-Sharing Reduction (CSR) program for months.

“Today is a victory for the rule of law and the American taxpayer,” Upton said. “We received vindication of what we have known for quite some time – that the administration does not have the authority to spend over $150 billion for payments to insurance companies without an appropriation from Congress. Today, the court’s message was clear: complying with Article I of the Constitution is not optional for President Obama.”

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, called the district court’s ruling “a big deal” after a sequence of unilateral actions by the administration.

“I’m pleased to see this federal court recognize the lawlessness of the administration’s improper payments to big insurance companies,” Roskam said. “The Oversight Subcommittee will continue to conduct vigorous oversight and fight to rein in government excess and abuse wherever we find it. (Thursday’s) ruling is a great victory for the House of Representatives and, more importantly, for the rule of law.”

U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, has led efforts to prevent spending on the healthcare law without congressional approval.

“The Constitution is clear: only Congress has the power of the purse,” Lance said. “President Obama cannot spend more than $150 billion in taxpayer funds without approval from the people’s House. (Thursday’s) ruling vindicates continued congressional efforts to hold the Obama administration accountable for overreaching its executive authority and overstepping its constitutional bounds repeatedly.”

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) called the ruling “proof positive” that the administration had operated with “blatant and willful disregard for the constitution.”

“What the Constitution makes clear and the president seems not to understand is that it is Congress who writes the laws and has the power of the purse,” Issa said. “The president simply gets to enforce these laws. The president can’t just legislate by executive order and spend the people’s money on his own terms. Obamacare has been a disaster from the beginning and today’s court decision affirms that reality.”

U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), also a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health as well as a former surgeon, called the ruling a “win for the rule of law” and “win for the American people.”

“(On Thursday), a federal court reaffirmed that the Obama administration overstepped its authority by unlawfully funding portions of Obamacare with taxpayer dollars not appropriated by Congress,” Bucshon said.

U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) noted that the administration has also faced court challenges over its executive action on immigration and EPA power grab and said, “This administration just can’t keep itself out of the courtroom.”

“The U.S. District Court’s ruling today is an important win for the constitutional separation of powers and for the American people who are tired of an imperial president that makes up the rules as he goes along,” Black added. “I am confident the D.C. Appeals Court will uphold this decision, as any fair interpretation of the law would compel them to do. Regardless, it won’t change the fact that Obamacare is not simply being implemented poorly, the law itself is flawed beyond repair and must be repealed.”

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) said that Thursday’s ruling proves what she’s argued all along — that the healthcare law is unworkable and unaffordable.

“As made clear today, it is unconstitutional for the Obama administration to spend money propping up this broken healthcare law without first having approval of the legislative branch,” Ellmers said. “Checks and balances were instituted for a reason and Congress still holds the power of the purse strings despite President Obama’s efforts to the contrary. As a nurse, I know firsthand the challenges faced by patients seeking quality and affordable healthcare. (Thursday’s) ruling puts us one step closer to repealing this law, and replacing it in its entirety with something that is truly patient-centered and affordable.”

More Articles About Fred Upton
More Articles About Healthcare