Audits and investigations into the effects of ObamaCare from congressional committees, government auditors, advocacy groups, and others.

More than a dozen states and the District of Columbia filed a motion on Thursday to intervene in the appeal of a lawsuit targeting the ACA’s cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies. The lawsuit was originally brought by the U.S. House of Representatives against the Obama administration, which the Trump administration must now deal with. The Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated that the average premiums for silver plans sold on the ACA exchanges would increase by about 19% to compensate for insurers’ lack of funding without the CSR payments. The Trump administration and the House are set to update the court on Monday on how they plan to proceed with the case.

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Judicial Watch today released 944 pages of Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) records showing that the Obamacare website was launched despite serious concerns by its security testing contractor, Mitre Corporation, as well as internal executive-level apprehension about security.

The documents reveal that Mitre recommended a “Denial Authorization to Operate” in the month prior to Obamacare’s launch, noting that it could not adequately test the confidentiality and integrity of the system. It said that complete end-to-end testing of the system never occurred. Miter found that 11 “moderate” security findings and eight “low” findings remained open as September 19, 2013 – 12 days before the launch.

And an unsigned “Authorization to Operate” prepared just five days before Obamacare’s launch, indicates that the site’s “validation contractor” was “unable to adequately test the confidentiality and integrity of the [Federally Facilitated Marketplace] system in full.” That contractor, Blue Canopy, noted that they were able to access data “that should not be publically accessible.”

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Fewer than 12 months ago, some people—aka, yours truly—raised a warning about Obamacare’s cost-sharing reductions. The text of the law nowhere provided an appropriation for them, meaning that, as I wrote last May, the next President could shut them off unilaterally. At the time, I contacted several reporters, pointing out that such a move could have major implications for the health care law. None showed any interest in writing on the topic, and to the best of my knowledge, few if any reporters did.

Having now under-reacted regarding the issue during most of 2016, the media are compensating by over-reacting now. Since the House failed to pass “repeal-and-replace” legislation, breathless articles in multiple publications have examined the issue, whether the Trump Administration will cut off the subsidies, and whether insurers will bail on the Exchanges en masse as a result.

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The Trump administration says it is willing to continue paying subsidies to health insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act even though House Republicans say the payments are illegal because Congress never authorized them. The statement sends a small but potentially significant signal to insurers, encouraging them to stay in the market. The future of the payments has been in doubt because of a lawsuit filed in 2014 by House Republicans, who said the Obama administration was paying the subsidies illegally.

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The Trump administration indicated that it plans to continue the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing subsidies while they are part of ongoing litigation, one administration official said Monday, in what may be the clearest statement on the issue so far.

The precedent that the cost-sharing subdues would be funded while the lawsuit is being litigated remains the policy of the current administration, according to the official, who spoke on conditions of anonymity.

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The shaky case for the individual mandate is based on mistaken premises, faulty economic analysis, short-sighted politics, and flawed health policy. Opponents have found the mandate to be administratively challenging, politically unsustainable, economically unnecessary, beyond the proper role of government, and constitutionally questionable. Arguments in favor of the individual mandate usually present it as a necessary, though far less popular, means to more laudable ends.

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The Trump administration and the House of Representatives are asking for a hold on a case over Affordable Care Act payments that has the potential to test the boundaries between the branches of government.

At issue is not just whether the executive branch had unconstitutionally funded certain ACA payments to insurers, but the limits on government power when it comes to appropriations.

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On January 3, 2017, Judge Margaret Sweeney of the United States Court of Claims certified Health Republic Insurance Company v. United States as a class action. This is one of more than a dozen cases that have been brought by insurers in the Court of Claims challenging the failure of the government to pay marketplace insurers amounts that they claim were due to them under the ACA’s risk corridor program. The class includes:

All persons or entities offering Qualified Health Plans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the 2014 and 2015 benefit years, and whose allowable costs in either the 2014 or 2015 benefit years, as calculated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, were more than 103 percent of their target.

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On December 28, 2016, two shots were filed in quick succession in the battle over the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, followed on January 29 by an order from the court. The House of Representatives has challenged the CSR payments (which reimburse insurers for reducing cost sharing for low-income marketplace enrollees) in House v. Burwell, claiming that the payments are illegal because they were never appropriated. The lower court ruled for the House, but the Obama administration appealed, arguing that money had been appropriated and that the payments were legal. With the election of Donald Trump, the House asked for a stay of the litigation, suggesting to the court that it might be able to settle the case with the Trump administration. The court stayed the appeal until late February.

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The Urban Institute released a new analysis yesterday of the impact of a bill that Congress passed last year to repeal large parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Urban’s analysis is based on many uncertain assumptions, including the implausible one that the incoming Trump administration and Congress, despite numerous campaign promises, will not provide any flexibility for people to purchase non-ACA-compliant products after repeal. Urban’s projections should be treated with significant skepticism because of the large uncertainty about its assumptions as well as substantial mistakes Urban has made in the past about the impact of the ACA.

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