The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a case on whether insurance companies are owed billions of dollars in ObamaCare payments from the federal government.
The move means the health care law will once again be going back to the Supreme Court, though this case is more technical than some of the higher-profile efforts to strike down the entire law, one of which is still making its way through lower courts.
Still, this case has important ramifications. Insurers sued to say that they are owed around $12 billion in payments through an ObamaCare program called “risk corridors” intended to shield insurers from heavy losses due to sick enrollees during the early years of the health care law.
Congressional Republicans successfully pushed to limit the payments, leading to a shortfall for insurers that contributed to the well-publicized premium increases in the early years of the law.
Those premium increases have now leveled off, but insurers say they are still owed the money that the government originally set out for them.
The Supreme Court will review a lower court decision that said the insurers are not owed the money.
“Looks like the Supreme Court may invalidate the GOP sabotage that drove ACA premium hikes in the early years,” Topher Spiro, vice president for health policy at the liberal Center for American Progress, tweeted.
Risk corridors have faded as an issue recently, but for several years limiting the funds was a top goal of Republicans, who argued the funds were a “bailout” of ObamaCare insurers.