US District Judge blasts Obama administration’s motion to dismiss Republican lawsuit on PPACA

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer on Thursday grilled U.S. Justice Department Lawyer, Joel McElvain, JD, during a hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in which the Obama administration filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by House Republicans over the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to Reuters.

House Republicans filed the lawsuit in November, claiming administration officials unlawfully bypassed Congress during the implementation of the PPACA. Specifically, Republicans question the executive changes authorizing Treasury payments to healthcare insurers without approval from Congress and delaying the implementation of the employer mandate.

Judge Collyer, who was appointed by former Republican President George W. Bush, repeatedly interrupted Mr. McElvain during the hearing, as Mr. McElvain argued the House lacks standing to sue. By law, the House would have to prove it has been directly harmed for its lawsuit to have standing in court, the Justice Department had argued.

"So it is your position that if the House of Representatives affirmatively voted not to fund something ... then that vote can be ignored by the administration, because after all, no one can sue them?" Judge Collyer asked, according to the report.

Mr. McElvain argued any perceived injury to the House was "abstract," and the merits of the case were not being discussed at the hearing. He argued the House could pass new legislation if it disagreed with the administration's actions, which he defended were legal under "pre-existing permanent appropriation."

Later during the hearing, Judge Collyer rebuked Mr. McElvain, saying, "You can't just shake your head and not deal with the question," according to Reuters.

While she appeared to support the Republicans' decision to file the lawsuit, Judge Collyer said she had not yet decided on the issue.

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