Supreme Court Says Federal Government Must Pay Insurers $12 Billion They Were Promised

(PatrioticPost.Com)- The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to the federal government Monday, when it ruled it owes insurance companies $12 billion.
In the 8-1 decision, the Court ruled the federal government must pay that money to insurance companies as part of promises made in the Affordable Care Act, passed under former President Barack Obama. That money was part of start-up costs of the program that were worked into the language of the bill for the first three years.
When it was passed, the law put limits on the profits and losses for participating insurance companies for the first three years of the program. While some companies made more profit than they were allowed under Obamacare and therefore had to pay some money back, others were due money from the federal government because of losses they incurred.
In 2014, though, Congress — which was then controlled by the Republicans — decided not to pay that money out. Congress also decided not to pay out that money in the next two years, meaning they didn’t abide by the law’s language. Congress even went as far as adding a rider to the bill that barred the federal government from ponying up.
Naturally, the insurance companies that were due money from the federal government filed a lawsuit, which eventually made its way all the way up to the Supreme Court. These companies accused the federal government of a “bait and switch” — promising help and then taking it away.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in the majority opinion, wrote:
“These holdings reflect a principle as old as the Nation itself: The Government should honor its obligations.”
In the dissenting opinion, Justice Samuel Alito, the only justice to vote in favor of the federal government, wrote:
“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.”
While the ruling means the federal government will have to shell out a lot of money to these insurance companies that reported a loss in the first three years of Obamacare, the Supreme Court decision won’t have much of an effect on the health-care program as a whole. It doesn’t change any other aspects of Obamacare, either for insurers or for people who are covered by the health care marketplace.
The lawsuit that may have an impact on the future of Obamacare is likely to be heard by the Supreme Court later this year. That case is one that has been brought by Republican states that have challenged the constitutionality of the law as a whole.
For now, the Supreme Court sent the money aspect of Obamacare back to the lower courts to decide the details of how the money should be distributed, and to which insurers. So, while the victory in court was certainly welcomed by all those that are supposed to be getting financial support, it also means they’ll likely have to wait a little longer to finally receive their money.