The Trump administration is waiting to hear from lawyers about how they could stop the subsidies and what legal consequences they could face if they do so, administration officials told Politico. A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that 16 state attorneys general may intervene in House v. Price because they showed a "substantial risk" that terminating the cost-sharing reduction payments, or CSRs, would "directly and imminently" cause an insurance premium hike and lead to more people becoming uninsured.

Alexander said the goal is pass emergency legislation by September 27, the drop dead date for insurers to sign contracts with the federal government to offer subsidized policies.

They have waited months for the Trump administration to commit to paying a key set of Obamacare subsidies. Essentially, it's an additional layer of financial assistance created to reduce the out-of-pocket cost burden that even Obamacare's already subsidized insurance places on the near poor.

They made their intentions known in filings with the government for larger rate increases than they would otherwise have sought if the cost-reduction subsidies were assured for next year rather than remaining up in the air. By 2026, the payments are expected to total about $130 billion....

The lawsuit will now proceed while Republicans in Congress continue efforts to undo Obamacare. Under the Constitution, Congress must appropriate money in order for the executive branch to spend it.

A district court judge previous year ruled in favor of the House, finding the subsidies were illegal and must stop.

The uncertainty surrounding the payments is only furthering momentum in Congress for a bipartisan fix on health care. Article I, Section 9, cl. 7 states that "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in effect of Appropriations made by Law". "It's disturbingly clear that President Trump and his administration are willing to treat them as political pawns; but this coalition of attorneys general stands ready to defend these vital subsidies and the quality, affordable health care they ensure for millions of families across the country".

In an effort to embarrass Democrats - then in the majority - Republicans successfully pushed an amendment to the ACA bill that required members of Congress and their staffs to drop out of the federal employee health insurance program that has traditionally provided coverage to the denizens of Capitol Hill.

The threat is meant to be leverage to force a recalcitrant Congress to act....

In the other chamber of Congress, the House of Representatives, 40 Democrats and Republicans have formed a group called the Problem Solvers Caucus, which aims to come up with bipartisan solutions Obamacare's troubles.

"A decision by the federal government is needed in the next few weeks", Lee said.

A meltdown ensued as Members feared that staffers would be exposed to thousands of dollars more in annual health-care costs, replete with predictions that junior aides would clean out their desks en masse. Trump's ham-fisted attempt at dealmaking is eroding those limits, and in the long run we are all worse off for it. Trump only guaranteed the payments through July.

So if Mr. Trump and the Republicans cannot repeal Obamacare, what can they do? But the foot that's being shot isn't Trump's electoral one, it's the government's budgetary one. There are many situations where a president can try to exploit legal ambiguities to dole out unappropriated funds to influential constituencies.

President Trump has repeatedly threatened to halt the subsidies. He thus gave Congress a way to keep having taxpayers pay for the lion's share of its insurance.

Obama, who had no constitutional authority to make law, unilaterally changed the law in 2013 and voided, otherwise mandatory, congressional participation.

As Suderman notes, some GOP lawmakers apparently want to continue the CSR payments.