After GOP Bill’s Failure, Health-Law Lawsuit Takes Center Stage

Republicans could undo much of the Affordable Care Act by stepping up challenge to its insurance subsidies

A lawsuit by House Republicans seeks to stop government payments reimbursing insurers for subsidies that lower costs for about six million people who get insurance on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges.PHOTO: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

By Stephanie Armour
Updated March 27, 2017

President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers, seeking to regroup following the collapse of the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, have an option for gutting the health law relatively quickly: They could halt billions in payments insurers get under the law.

House Republicans were already challenging those payments in court as invalid. Their lawsuit to stop the payments, which they call illegal, was suspended as Republicans pushed to replace the ACA, but it could now resume—or the Trump administration could decline to contest it and simply drop the payments. Mr. Trump could unilaterally end the payments regardless of the lawsuit.

Such actions would stop the government payments reimbursing insurers for subsidies that lower the cost of deductibles, copayments and coinsurance for about six million people who obtain insurance on the ACA’s exchanges.

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