The White House notified [text] the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Friday that it had instructed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) [official website] to stop making cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) [JURIST archive].
The notice states that the executive branch has “determined that those payments are not funded by the permanent appropriation for ‘refunding internal revenue collections’ … or by any other appropriation.” The short filing includes a memo from Attorney General Jefferson Sessions [official profile] dated October 11 that instructs provides his legal opinion regarding CSR payments to the Department of the Treasury and HHS, namely that they cannot be funded by the general permanent appropriations related to 31 U.S.C. § 1324 [text]. Sessions noted that the district court had previously found that § 3124 appropriations may not be applied [opinion] to CSR payments, but stayed enforcement of the injunction pending appeal.
CSR payments [42 U.S. Code § 18071 text] seek to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles and co-payments, paid by those making less than 250% of the federal poverty line by making payments directly to insurance providers on the insured’s behalf.
The filing with the court follows Executive Order 13816 [text] issued Thursday which could potentially greatly affect healthcare in the US. The Order would make it easier for people to buy more forms [JURIST report] of health insurance at potentially cheaper costs through a number of regulatory changes, including by removing coverage requirements imposed by the ACA.