|Today's post is shared from nytimes.com/|
WASHINGTON — In mounting the latest court challenge to the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans are focusing on a little-noticed provision of the law that offers financial assistance to low- and moderate-income people.
Under this part of the law, insurance companies must reduce co-payments, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for some people in health plans purchased through the new public insurance exchanges. The federal government reimburses insurers for the “cost-sharing reductions.”
In their lawsuit, House Republicans say the Obama administration needed, but never received, an appropriation to make these payments to insurance companies. As a result, they contend, the spending violates the Constitution, which says, “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.”
President Obama requested the money as part of the budget he sent Congress in April 2013, but Congress did not act on the request. Seeing the issue as an urgent priority, the administration began making the payments early this year, using money from a separate account established for tax refunds and tax credits.
“The cost-sharing reductions are really important and valuable,” said Judith Solomon, a vice president at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning research and advocacy group.
Under a standard insurance policy, for example, consumers might have to pay a deductible of $2,500 before the health...