In an 8-1 decision, the US Supreme Court took a flamethrower to Republican "risk corridors" that starved insurers of money promised to them in the original ACA, meaning the Trump regime owes back payments on Obamacare.
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled the federal government owes health insurers massive payments from an Obamacare program shielding them from financial risks after the companies accused Washington of reneging on its funding promises.
The 8-1 decision could open the floodgates for federal cash to the insurance industry. Insurers who accused the government of a “bait and switch” claimed they’re owed $12 billion from the Affordable Care Act program.
The case concerned a temporary fund in the health care law intended as a buffer for health plans who had sicker customers than expected in the newly overhauled insurance marketplaces. Obamacare’s drafters hoped the program would be funded by industry, but health plans quickly racked up losses when the marketplaces opened in 2014. The next year, Republican lawmakers approved the first in a series of annual appropriations riders barring HHS from using taxpayer dollars to bankroll the program, known as risk corridors.
The high court agreed with insurers that the congressional spending restrictions didn’t release the government from its original promise to fund the Obamacare program. The court said Congress had created "a rare money-mandating obligation" that later appropriations language couldn't repeal.
"These holdings reflect a principle as old as the Nation itself: The Government should honor its obligations," wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the majority opinion.
Justice Samuel Alito, in a dissenting opinion, criticized the ruling as effectively providing a massive bailout for the insurance industry.
"Under the court’s decision, billions of taxpayer dollars will be turned over to insurance companies that bet unsuccessfully on the success of the program in question," Alito wrote.
The ruling came year too late however, and may not matter at all in a year...
The decision will have little impact on Obamacare. The law faces a legal threat in a separate case brought by Republican-led states challenging the law’s constitutionality, which the Supreme Court has agreed to hear, likely later this year. But the ruling represents a loss for the Trump administration, which argued it wasn’t obligated to make the risk corridor payments and is supporting the red states’ lawsuit.
The three-year risk corridors program closed in 2016. Insurance experts said the program’s $12 billion shortfall contributed to turbulence in Obamacare’s early years, as health plans jacked up premiums to cover their losses or abandoned the marketplaces.
So again, it's effectively a moot point now as risk corridors are gone, and probably a moot point later as all of Obamacare could be gone in 12 months.