Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced Friday that the House of Representatives has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, over its failure to implement Obamacare based on the law passed by Congress.
"Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and re-write federal law on his own without a vote of Congress," Boehner said. "That's not the way our system of government was designed to work."
House Republicans have filed a lawsuit to fight the Obama administration's implementation of Obamacare, a move it has been signaling it would take for the last few months. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
"If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to as well," he said. "The House has an obligation to stand up for the Constitution, and that is exactly why we are pursuing this course of action."
News of the lawsuit was released shortly after Boehner warned that the House would act against Obama's executive action on immigration, which will give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.
With these two events, the two parties have quickly moved from promises to try to work together, to the equivalent of open war over policy matters — all within a span of less than 20 days after the Nov. 4 midterm elections.
Over the summer, the House approved a resolution giving it the authority to file a suit. The resulting legal action cites specific actions by Department of Health and Human Services and the Treasury Department that weren't permitted in Obamacare.
First, the suit cites the decision by HHS to waive the employer mandate. Officials have twice waived the legal requirement to ignore the requirement that companies provide health insurance to their employees, and associated penalties.
"The president's actions delaying the employer mandate directly contradict the clear and plain language of the health care law," Boehner's office said.
Democrats have said it made no sense for Republicans to complain about these waivers given their opposition to the entire law. But the GOP has said these sorts of changes should go through Congress, and said they also would have pushed through a delay to the individual mandate.
The second element of the suit details with the implementation of a risk-corridor program aimed at sharing the costs of Obamacare.
The Congressional Budget Office has said the administration would pay roughly $3 billion to insurance companies in 2014, and about $175 billion over the next ten years.
Republicans say Congress never appropriated funds for this program.
"The administration is instead unlawfully and unconstitutionally using funds from a separate Treasury Department account – authorized for other purposes – to pay insurance companies and thereby unilaterally altering the structure of the health care law," Boehner's office said.