A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has confirmed to the New York Times that the agency will continue providing cost-sharing subsides to health insurers participating in the Obamacare exchanges, pending a lawsuit appeal that will be heard next month.
The subsidies, totaling about $7 billion a year, are provided to the insurers for lowering premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for low-income consumers. However, a lawsuit filed by Republicans in the House of Representatives claims the payments are illegal because the House never appropriated the funds for them (all spending measures must begin in that chamber, according to the Constitution). This past May a judge agreed with the Republicans, but put her ruling on hold while the Obama administration appealed.
That appeal is set to be heard next month, but the Trump administration could decide to withdraw it, so the subsidies may expire soon.
The spokesman explained it this way to the Times: “The precedent is that while the lawsuit is being litigated, the cost-sharing subsidies will be funded. It would be fair for you to report that there has been no policy change in the current administration.”