Even before Donald Trump settles in behind the desk in the Oval Office — before the president-elect has a chance to formally start the process of deleting Barack Obama’s legacy — the current president’s shadow across America continues fading.
A federal appeals court has struck another blow against the massive law for which Obama and his loyalists have loudly tooted their horns for the last six or so years.
That law, Obamacare — already collapsing under the weight of its own follies and flaws — just suffered another legal setback in what The Washington Times describes as “one of a series of cases that are being delayed to give the new administration a chance to put its stamp on legal strategy.”
It’s already widely believed that repealing Obamacare will be a prime focus of the Trump administration out of the gate. House Speaker Paul Ryan confirmed that during a Sunday interview on “60 Minutes,” as reported by The Hill. And Trump’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, has long maintained his fervent hope that the Affordable Care Act will be toast.
Now, as The Washington Times reports, “A federal appeals court halted a key Obamacare case on Monday, agreeing to put off proceedings until after President-elect Trump takes office and figures out how he wants to proceed.”
The case the appeals court has put on hold stemmed from a challenge to the Obama administration by Republicans in the House of Representatives. The House argued that Obama’s HHS acted improperly in making payments to insurance companies to help them weather the Obamacare financial storm. Congress had never authorized those payments in its appropriations bills.
A lower court agreed with the House contention that the spending was illegal. Administration lawyers had fought to keep the appeal moving forward, but as The Times observes, “the new order is a setback” for Obama and his attempt to make it harder for the tentacles of the health care law to be extracted.
A Reuters report on the federal appeals court action on Monday goes so far as to say it “threatens to gut [Obama’s] signature healthcare law by putting the case on hold” until after Trump takes office and the fate of Obamacare becomes more clear.
Despite significant premium increases for Obamacare insurance policies set to take effect in 2017, the president has continued to deny reality by claiming that Obamacare is affordable because it costs less for the average family than cellphone service.
Many political observers believe that higher premiums — combined with higher deductibles and fewer choices of insurance providers as more and more companies choose not to participate in Obamacare — helped motivate Trump supporters to go to the polls and make the New York real estate mogul the president-elect.
And now, ironically, it may be Democrats in Congress who are relieved (though most would never admit it) that the unpopular Affordable Care Act may find itself on the ash heap of history. The party out of power faces the challenge of trying not to become even less influential on Capitol Hill after the 2018 mid-term elections that Politico says could prove disastrous, as the GOP could actually assemble a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
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