House, Justice Department ask for delay in ObamaCare lawsuit

House, Justice Department ask for delay in ObamaCare lawsuit
© Greg Nash

Republican lawmakers and the Department of Justice have asked for more time Tuesday to decide whether they want to move forward in the House's lawsuit over ObamaCare's cost-sharing subsidies. 

The House and the DOJ made the request in a joint motion Tuesday. 

The House filed the lawsuit two years ago, arguing that the cost-sharing reductions to insurers are illegal because Congress has not provided a specific appropriation for them. 

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The payments go to insurance companies to reduce the out-of-pocket costs for ObamaCare enrollees. 

Republicans are now considering whether they will continue the payments to keep the ObamaCare exchange markets from collapsing as they work toward repealing and replacing ObamaCare.

Insurers have threatened to leave the ObamaCare market exchanges if the payments are not continued, which could potentially leaving millions without healthcare coverage options during the transition. 

Top Republicans have pushed for a continuance of the payments, including Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderWeek ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets Corker pressed as reelection challenges mount Overnight Health Care: CBO predicts 15 percent ObamaCare premium hike | Trump calls Sanders single-payer plan ‘curse on the US’ | Republican seeks score of Sanders’s bill MORE (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee. 

Rep. Mark Meadows, (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, has also voiced support for continuing the payments, saying he could "swallow some short-term heartburn" for "longer-term fiscal responsibility." 

The motion Tuesday grants the House and the DOJ until May 22 to file a status report with the court and establishes 90-day deadlines after that. 

The House has asked for delays in the proceedings after Trump won the election in November.