House, Trump officials reach settlement in ObamaCare payments case

House, Trump officials reach settlement in ObamaCare payments case

The House and the Trump administration have reached a settlement where they are asking a federal court to essentially drop a case over ObamaCare payments.

The settlement filed in court on Friday seeks to resolve the legal battle over the ObamaCare payments given that the case lost some relevancy when President TrumpDonald John TrumpPoll: Both parties need to do more on drug prices Senate approves .3 trillion spending bill, sending to Trump White House: Trump will delay steel tariffs for EU, six countries MORE decided to cancel the payments in October.

The settlement asks the court to undo its finding last year that the ObamaCare payments, known as cost sharing reductions, were being made unconstitutionally without a congressional appropriation.


The move would have no immediate practical effect, though, because Trump has already canceled the payments. They would remain canceled.

The settlement would therefore seek to end a legal standoff in a case that had lost some of its original purpose after Trump's action.

The Obama administration had appealed the court's order last year, seeking to keep the ObamaCare payments going.

"In light of changed circumstances, the House, the Agencies, and the States have determined to resolve the dispute that is pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit," the settlement states.

"It's recognizing a stalemate and the reality that the administration isn't paying the cost sharing reduction payments," said Tim Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University.

"Everybody's kind of returning to their original position," he added.

Jost said the move would seem to make it possible for a future administration to reinstate the payments if it wanted to, given that the order blocking them would be dropped. There is no indication Trump will do that, though.

The administration also states that it is not accepting the court's finding last year that the House has the ability to sue the executive branch, which would have set a significant precedent for future cases.

Cost sharing reduction payments reimburse insurers for giving discounts to low-income ObamaCare enrollees, but they have been controversial since the text of the ObamaCare law did not provide a clear appropriation for them.

Separate from the court case, the payments are at the center of a fight in Congress at the moment over a bipartisan bill aiming to reinstate them, which has drawn opposition from conservatives.