by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Trump has an opportunity to unilaterally halt an unconstitutional corporate welfare scheme, deal Obamacare a mortal blow, and save the taxpayers more than $100 billion. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled last year that the Obama administration had unconstitutionally dispensed subsidies to insurers, holding that it had flouted the Appropriations Clause by doling out “cost sharing reduction” (CSR) payments that hadn’t been authorized by Congress. The Obama administration later filed an appeal but didn’t have time to pursue the case further. President Trump has the power and the duty to drop that appeal and stop these unconstitutional CSR payments immediately.
Instead of doing so, however, Trump is attempting to use these bribes as a bargaining chip in a futile attempt to get the Democrats to deal in good faith on a viable replacement for Obamacare. This, to coin a phrase, is worse than a crime — it’s a mistake. He has no more right than did his predecessor to spend these funds without congressional approval, and the Democrats have no intention of negotiating honestly with him on the “Affordable Care Act.” Indeed, when Trump suggested in a Wall Street Journal interview that he might use the CSR payments as leverage to force them to the bargaining table, the Democrats just turned up the volume on the ridiculous rhetoric of “the resistance.”