House, Justice Department ask for delays to Obamacare lawsuit

The House and Justice Department are delaying a resolution to a lawsuit over Obamacare’s payments to insurers.

The House and the department made a joint request Tuesday to delay filing a status report to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals about the lawsuit. The Obama administration had appealed an earlier decision that ruled in the House’s favor.

The Trump administration and the House filed the motion to get more time “to continue to resolve the lawsuit without the court’s assistance,” said Ashlee Strong, spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The lawsuit focuses on the legality of Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction payments, which are given to insurers.

Insurers are required to reduce the cost of deductibles or copays for low-income Obamacare customers. The government then reimburses insurers for those payments, which are called cost-sharing reductions.

The lawsuit, filed in 2015, challenged the legality of the Obama administration’s payments to insurers without a congressional appropriation. The administration contended that it could pay for the reduction payments through a permanent appropriation that is used for the law’s subsidies to lower insurance.

The question now is what does the delay mean for the insurance industry, which has pressed Congress to continue reimbursing the cost-sharing reduction payments.

The Obama administration was appealing an earlier ruling from a federal judge that found the House had standing to sue the executive branch of the government. The judge later agreed with the House that the administration bypassed Congress.

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