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The Wall, “Obamacare” lawsuit, and unintended consequences

In 2015, a federal judge ruled the House of Representatives could sue the Obama Administration for spending money it hadn’t approved.

Now, that ruling could well be why President Trump hasn’t – and won’t – declare a National Emergency over his much-loved Wall.

If Trump declares an Emergency – which most knowledgeable people thnk is well within his power – he’ll then have to find the money to build the Wall. That’s a whole other problem, one that was specifically addressed In the House v Burwell case in 2015.

House v Burwell was the lawsuit filed by the House (then run by Republicans) when the Obama Administration used unallocated funds to fund subsidies for lower-income people buying insurance via the ACA. The case was eventually settled, but during the process, precedent was likely established. To wit:

Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote “Neither the president nor his officers can authorize appropriations; the assent of the House of Representatives is required before any public moneys are spent,” Collyer wrote this in September 2015.

Now, there’s a bit of nuance here. From WaPo’s Paige Winfield Cunningham:

“[If] Congress hadn’t set aside funding specifically for those (ACA) subsidies, it had at least authorized them as part of the ACA. But in this case, Congress hasn’t passed a law creating a border wall — let alone set aside money to pay for it.” 

In the view of some legal experts, this makes a potential House suit to block funding for the Wall much stronger. And the likelihood that Trump gets his Wall bleak indeed.

What does this mean for you?

Beware of unintended consequences.

7 thoughts on “The Wall, “Obamacare” lawsuit, and unintended consequences”

  1. The wall is his PR makeup to mask the many corruption charges heading his way. The more the wall is on the blackboard, the less the press focuses on the real issue – a compromised president.

    1. Bruce – Would you please leave the empty political rhetoric comments for your FB page please. It detracts from your professionalism.

      1. Hello Sue – thanks for reading. I’m fine with Bruce’s comment, as I am with your desire to comment on it. Bruce is entitled to post his views as are you.
        regards – Joe

  2. Not sure what this blatantly political post has to do with the healthcare blog to which I subscribe in order to stay abreast of healthcare related issues, but I’ll be cancelling my subscription forthwith. Thanks for the memories.

    1. Hello Bill F – thanks for the comment. Not sure how this post is “blatantly political” – it merely provides insight into how political maneuvering can have unanticipated repercussions.

      That said, happy to unsubscribe you as you don’t seem interested in hearing anything that may contradict your worldview.

      cheers Joe

  3. Your post is not political; it is merely passing along historical information regarding an issue that is at the top of the news every day. I can’t imagine why someone would cancel a subscription to a resource that consistently provides useful information regarding managed care, as well as overall context. Keep up the great work.

    1. Hello Charlotte – thanks for the note and kind words.

      Will certainly work to keep producing useful reading!

      best Joe

Comments are closed.

Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates




A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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