By David Lee/Courthouse News

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (CN) – A federal judge in Texas ordered the government Tuesday evening to pay back Wisconsin and five other states nearly $840 million in Obamacare fees on state Medicaid programs.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor concluded plaintiffs Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Wisconsin and Nebraska are entitled to disgorgement “as a means of enforcing” the Affordable Care Act’s statutory mandate exempting states from paying the health insurance provider fee, abbreviated as HIPF in court documents.

“The court finds that the [Administrative Procedure Act] and the ACA entitle plaintiffs to disgorgement because the APA waives immunity for ‘a suit seeking to enforce [a] statutory mandate,’ and disgorgement in this case enforces defendant’s compliance with the ACA’s mandate specifically exempting the states from paying the HIPF,” Judge O’Connor wrote in a 17-page ruling.

Led by Texas, the states sued in 2015, claiming the ACA gave no clear notice to states that the fees would be required to continue federal funding for their Medicaid and Child Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. They say that when they found out about the fee, notice was given by a “private entity wielding legislative authority.”

Judge O’Connor explained that the disgorgement would “ordinarily constitute ‘substitute’ relief” that is barred by sovereign immunity because the specific fees cannot be traced, and the states can only ask for the return of the “monetary equivalent” that does not qualify as “specific” relief required for an immunity waiver under the APA.

The judge also declined the states’ motion to reconsider his earlier finding five months ago that the HIPF is not a “tax” but is a “fee” under the ACA and Declaratory Judgment Act.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton lauded the ruling late Tuesday. He said Texas will receive over $304.7 million, Indiana $94.8 million, Kansas $142.1 million, Louisiana $172.4 million, Wisconsin $88.9 million and Nebraska $36.2 million, for a total of $839.3 million.

“We all know that the feds cannot tax the states, and we’re proud to return this illegally collected money to the people of Texas,” Paxton said.

Texas and 19 other Republican-led states filed a separate lawsuit in February against the United States, seeking to kill Obamacare for good. In that case, Texas argues the ACA’s individual mandate would be an unconstitutional exercise of federal power under U.S. Supreme Court precedent without the tax penalty that Congress removed during tax cuts last year.

California and 15 other Democratic-led states filed to intervene in the case in April, arguing Congress merely reduces the tax penalty from 2.5 percent to zero and did not repeal any statutory provision of the law itself.

The Trump administration announced in June it would not defend Obamacare in that lawsuit. Leading health care and physicians groups filed an amicus brief in the case days later, claiming the Republican-led states lack standing and ACA’s death would “wreak havoc” on the U.S. health care system.

12 replies on “Wisconsin wins refund of Obamacare fees”

  1. Well well…….what’s this? WI citizens being reunited with their money that was plundered from them via the NOT affordable care act? A sincere thank you to Atty. General Brad Schimel and Gov. Walker.

    1. Exactly…this sentence alone sums up the entire obama era.. Bully everyone into submission or in this case robbing tax payers of their hard earned money. Sending a private company and giving them powers only the government has.

      They say that when they found out about the fee, notice was given by a “private entity wielding legislative authority.”

      1. “Texas and 19 other Republican-led states filed a separate lawsuit in February against the United States, seeking to kill Obamacare for good. In that case, Texas argues the ACA’s individual mandate would be an unconstitutional exercise of federal power under U.S. Supreme Court precedent without the tax penalty that Congress removed during tax cuts last year.

        California and 15 other Democratic-led states filed to intervene in the case in April, arguing Congress merely reduces the tax penalty from 2.5 percent to zero and did not repeal any statutory provision of the law itself.

        The Trump administration announced in June it would not defend Obamacare in that lawsuit. Leading health care and physicians groups filed an amicus brief in the case days later, claiming the Republican-led states lack standing and ACA’s death would “wreak havoc” on the U.S. health care system.”

    2. How many more will lose health care? Will the ten essential benefits will depart of all insurance policies? Will pre-existing conditions require people to pay hire premiums? Will caps be lowered forcing the termination of health care and leading to more medical bankruptcies? Will the number people deaths increase for people without healthcare? Remember when medicare dollars flow into Wisconsin, we are seeing our tax dollars returning to the state… instead we have sent state tax dollars for healthcare? Or people have been prevented from getting healthcare.

  2. Wow! People in health care lose jobs! People lose coverage! And we each gain $15 dollars! I would rather we accept the Medicaid Exchange and keep our health care! It is being fiscally responsible!

    1. Took you THREE freaking posts to babble that, Enk? I won’t even bother asking for any PROOF that “people in health care lose jobs”, “people lose coverage”, blah freaking blah. Sure was peaceful around here for a couple of days. I wonder why…

      1. i am not trying to pick on you john,,, but i cant take anything you say seriously. He is beyond progressive. He is basically a SJW that offers zero facts just “feelings”.

        Health care workers will never lose jobs with an increase in population a natural increase in jobs will happen. Everyone needs health care and that will never change.

        What about the jobs in the private sector that were lost because of the careless implementation of ACA. Do you care about them?

        He acts like each citizen getting $15 back in their pocket (if that is a real number) is not a big deal. Those are liberals/far leftists again acting like if we take a little here and take little there nobody will ever notice or be hurt.

        When will it end when i pay 80% of my income taxes to the government vs the 25% i pay now?

  3. “However, when one considers how Wisconsin compares to the expansion states, how the limited expansion affects state taxpayers, and what happened to parents who lost their BadgerCare eligibility in 2014, the Wisconsin record doesn’t look as good:

    If Wisconsin were to fully expand Medicaid, more than 80,000 adults between 100% and 138% of FPL would be covered in BadgerCare, and that change would yield a net savings for state taxpayers of about $190 million per year.
    Wisconsin’s 42% decline in the number of people who are uninsured is 5 percentage points behind the average improvement in the 31 expansion states, and 5 to 9 percentage points behind each of Wisconsin’s neighbors (all of which are expansion states).
    More than 62,000 adults lost their BadgerCare eligibility in 2014 when the state cut in half the income ceiling for parents, and a DHS study could only show that 58% of them obtained other insurance coverage (or regained BadgerCare coverage). Most of the rest are presumably uninsured.
    Wisconsin went from having the 12th lowest rate of uninsured children in 2013 to a tie for 20th lowest in 2016, as states that expanded Medicaid coverage for parents found that there was increased Medicaid participation among kids who were already eligible.”

    https://ccf.georgetown.edu/2018/01/05/wisconsins-partial-medicaid-expansion-covers-far-fewer-people-at-much-greater-cost/

  4. “Changes to Medicaid could be included in Gov. Scott Walker’s 2017-19 budget proposal to be released Feb. 8, though the state Legislature might not take up reform until late this year or early next year.

    Medicaid services cover nearly 1.2 million people in Wisconsin, or roughly 1 in 5 residents, and account for 17 percent of the state budget — the second-largest expense after K-12 education. The federal government pays about 59 percent of the Medicaid budget and the state 41 percent.”

    https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/health-med-fit/changes-to-wisconsin-s-medicaid-program-could-be-wide-reaching/article_28cf3292-377e-5f02-9e5a-05c318233607.html

  5. more later guys!

    Being a Social Justice Warrior is what I do best… so which of those terms upset you so much?

Comments are closed.