WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) today issued the following statement in response to the administration's announcement that they plan to stop issuing unconstitutional payments under the Obamacare cost-sharing reduction (CSR) program:
“President Trump made the right call in deeming these payments unlawful. Under no circumstance should Congress attempt to expand Obamacare by cutting a check for President Obama’s bailout of insurance companies. Instead, Congress must fulfill the promise to repeal and replace Obamacare with high-quality, patient-centered health care.”
The CSR payments were illegal because Congress, who holds the constitutional power of the purse, never authorized the payments. They are the center of a 2014 lawsuit where House Republicans sued the Obama administration on the constitutionality of the payments directly to insurance companies, practically serving as a bail out. A Federal District Court judge agreed and ordered the payments had to be halted.
According to The New York Times:
"Congress never provided explicit authority for the spending, she ruled. 'Such an appropriation cannot be inferred,' the judge said in her opinion. She blocked further spending under the program but said that order would be suspended pending an appeal by the Obama administration."
In August, the Trump administration announced it would temporarily continue CSR payments. Following that decision Walker said that "we cannot dig our hands into a hole $20 trillion deep to bail out insurance companies."
"Even worse, we will be adding insult to injury by masking the failures of Obamacare at the expense of hardworking taxpayers," Walker added. "The people of North Carolina are already paying enough because of Obamacare’s pitfalls. Instead of the executive branch issuing unconstitutional payments to bail out insurance companies, the Senate should continue working until they have passed a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. Their constituents are tired of their inability to fulfill their promise.”