Paul Ryan: Obamacare CSR Subsidies Won’t Be Included In Spending Bill

Ted Goodman | Reporter

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told reporters Wednesday the spending bill to keep the federal government running will not include funding for Obamacare subsidies.

“CSRs, we’re not doing that,” Ryan told reporters after meeting with House Republicans. “That is not in the appropriation bill. That’s something separate that the administration does.”

Obamacare provides cost-sharing reduction subsidies (CSRs) designed to lower the out-of-pocket cost for plans bought on the Health Insurance Marketplace. The CSR an individual is entitled to is calculated by family size and household income. In general, the lower the household income, the higher the subsidy.

House Republicans are in the middle of a lawsuit over the way the subsidies are funded. The Obama administration initially asked Congress to approve the funding, but later argued congressional authorization was not necessary because the funding falls into the mandatory spending category. (RELATED: The Potentially Unconstitutional Obamacare Feature Everyone Is Ignoring)

Republicans argue that’s an unconstitutional usurpation of the power of the purse for Congress, and have argued in court the funds are not mandatory and must be regularly approved. A federal judge concluded the House’s claim had legal standing and allowed the case move forward in May of 2016.

Because the lawsuit is ongoing, Ryan has stated the House will not include funding authorization for the CSR payments, and will let the Trump administration decide whether to continue making the payments. While Trump reportedly considered the idea of cutting them off, the administration has announced it will continue making the payments — likely in part to avoid a market shock.

The White House told lawmakers Thursday the administration will continue CSR payments under Obamacare, but did not discuss its long-term future. Politico’s Capitol Bureau Chief John Bresnahan reported the news in a tweet.

Democrats questioned Ryan’s announcement the funding would not go into the appropriations bill, however, asserting that an arrangement was being negotiated with the White House, according to the Washington Examiner.

Trump’s Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Wednesday night that the administration had not yet decided whether to make upcoming payments to fund CSRs. Mulvaney also proposed a deal with Democrats to provide money for CSRs in exchange for funding the border wall.

Democrats agreed to support half of President Donald Trump’s request for $30 billion in additional military spending if Republicans agreed to use the spending bill to fund the CSRs, according to The Hill. That deal is apparently off.

Obamacare’s CSRs are different from the premium tax credit provision. The CSR subsidy lowers the amount an individual is expected to pay for out-of-pocket costs, while the premium tax credit may lower an individuals monthly healthcare premium.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Ryan is at odds with the White House over funding the CSR. Ryan has previously indicated he would let the Trump White House decide whether to continue making payments, as the Obama administration did not seek authorization from Congress.

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