On May 18, 2017, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led a coalition of 18 attorneys general from across the States to intervene in an appeal of a suit brought by House Republicans to block the federal government’s legal responsibility to provide cost sharing reductions for the low-income insured.
On August 1, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed to hear the motions brought by the attorneys general.
The case, House of Representatives v. Price, et. al, sought to block the government’s legal mandate to provide funds to off-set deductibles, co-payments and other out-of-pocket expenses for those individuals who would otherwise be unable to afford insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The suit further alleged that President Obama overstepped his constitutional authority by implementing the federal government’s “transitional policy” and “hardship exemption” – provisions of the law which allowed Americans to purchase healthcare on the exchange through provider plans not in compliance with the ACA.
The House Republicans alleged the Obama administration “implemented a transitional policy that would allow millions of Americans whose insurance companies cancelled their health care coverage to remain in their non-compliant plans.”
The suit further alleged the federal government overstepped their legal mandate by creating a “hardship exemption” for Americans “if the plan options available in the marketplace in [their] area are more expensive than [their] cancelled health insurance polic[ies].”
In the case of New York, the New York State Department of Health (administrators of the State’s ACA) and the Department of Financial Services (the agency which regulates the state’s insurance market) filed affidavits of support for Attorney General’s Schneiderman’s motion to intervene in the appeal.
In a press statement issued by New York’s attorney general in response to the court’s decision to hear the motion by the attorneys general, Schneiderman wrote, “It’s disturbingly clear that President Trump and his administration are willing to treat them (individuals who rely on the subsidies) as political pawns …”
New York provides “$900 million in cost-sharing reduction payments in 2017” to 730,000 low-income residents of the state.