Today, Republican lawmakers in the US House of Representatives have filed a long-threatened lawsuit against the Obama administration over the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare.” This is not by any stretch the first time we’ve seen the GOP sue over Obamacare, but as it comes not 24 hours after the President’s speech outlining new executive orders over immigration, the surrounding fanfare is a bit louder.
The New York Times reported a few hours ago that the present suit is “over unilateral actions on the health care law that they say are abuses of the president’s executive authority” and centers about “two crucial aspects of the way the administration has put the Affordable Care Act into effect.” The GOP lawsuit over Obamacare alleges the Administration illegally “[postponed] requirement that larger employers offer health coverage to their full-time employees or pay penalties. (Larger companies are defined as those with 50 or more employees.)”
A prominent NPR political blog explains the House had authorized a GOP lawsuit over Obamacare in July, noting, “In a press conference before the suit was filed, [House Speaker John] Boehner complained bitterly that Obama was undermining the rule of law and ‘damaging the presidency’ by leap-frogging congress with his executive action.”
This GOP lawsuit over Obamacare was filed against the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Treasury in a DC federal court. Reuters pointed out today the lawsuit “also challenges a provision of the law that authorizes Treasury payments to health insurance companies”, and noted that Mr. Boehner “said that Obama had bypassed Congress to take ‘unilateral actions’ when implementing the healthcare law”. Reuters also quotes the Speaker as stating, “‘If the president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to as well. The House has an obligation to stand up for the Constitution’”.
Though the GOP-led House had a bit of trouble finding legal representation for this lawsuit, Jonathan Turley signed on this week. The implications of this lawsuit are yet to be seen. As most analysts consider it political bluster, the general consensus is the GOP lawsuit over Obamacare will have little or no lasting consequences for the Affordable Care Act, if it is heard in the DC court at all.