By Lisa Schencker, Crain News Service
WASHINGTON (Nov. 24, 2014) — House Republicans filed their long-awaited lawsuit Nov. 21 challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The lawsuit, filed against the secretaries of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Treasury, contests President Barack Obama's decision to waive the healthcare law's employer mandate and the penalties for failing to comply with it without first receiving Congressional approval for the change. That mandate will ultimately require companies with 50 employees or more to provide healthcare coverage to their employees.
The lawsuit also argues that the administration is illegally using funds from a separate Treasury Department account meant for other purposes to pay insurance companies $175 billion over the next 10 years as part of a cost-sharing so-called risk corridors portion of the law.
“Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and rewrite federal law on his own without a vote of Congress. That's not the way our system of government was designed to work,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement Nov. 21. “If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to as well.”
The lawsuit was authorized by a House resolution passed in July. Since then, House Republicans have hired three lawyers to represent them in the case, but the first two ultimately left the case, Politico originally reported. George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley announced on his blog last week that he is now representing House Republicans in the case.
Mr. Turley noted that he supports national health care and voted for Mr. Obama before his first term, but said this case “represents a long-overdue effort by Congress to resolve fundamental Separation of Powers issues. In that sense, it has more to do with constitutional law than health care law.”
A number of cases centering on the ACA are now working their way through the courts. The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear King v. Burwell, which addresses the question of whether insurance premium subsidies should be legal in states that have not established their own exchanges and are instead relying on HealthCare.gov.
This report appeared on the website of Modern Healthcare, a Chicago-based sister publication of Tire Business.