Democratic AGs Move to Protect Obamacare Subsidies

Filed motion in case filed by Republican-controlled House

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., was among state attorneys general who filed a motion to protect subsidies in the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sixteen Democratic state attorneys general filed a motion to protect the subsidies to insurance companies for low-income people in the 2010 health care law.

“The stakes are very high. In Maryland we have more than 400,000 people who depend on the Affordable Care Act to get normal health care. It sounds alarming, but it’s true: lives are at stake,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, according Reuters reported.

The attorneys general cited Trump’s own words, quoting him saying he was willing to let the health care law “explode.”

The motion was filed in a pending case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that would end subsidies that House Republicans filed against the government, saying the Obama administration had overstepped its authority. 

A judge ruled in favor of the Republicans in May 2016. The Obama administration appealed the ruling before Trump took office.

The appeals court put the litigation on hold after the November presidential election at the request of the Republican House lawmakers, Reuters reported.

In February, the same court rejected a similar motion filed by Democratic attorneys general seeking to help defend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The subsidies amount to roughly $7 billion this year. President Donald Trump has threatened to withhold them to get congressional Democrats to negotiate with him.

The leaders of the case are California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who served in Congress when the law was passed, and Eric Schneiderman of New York.

Tow of the AGs, Frosh and Kentucky’s Andy Beshear, are Democratic attorneys general in states with Republican governors.

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