Supreme Court Passes on ACA Subsidy Case-For Now

At this time, the Supreme Court of the United States has declined to hear an appeal of one of the cases challenging the legality of making subsidies under the Affordable Care Act available to consumers on the federally run health insurance exchanges.

At this time, the Supreme Court of the United States has declined to hear an appeal of one of the cases challenging the legality of making subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) available to consumers on the federally run health insurance exchanges.

King v. Burwell was not on the Supreme Court’s list of cases it would hear Monday morning. The case, along with others, like Halbig v. Burwell, argues that based on the wording of the ACA, only people on state-run exchanges are eligible for subsidies. Overall, there are 4 cases on this issue making their way through the court system.

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, VA, ruled 3-0 in July on King that the ACA’s tax subsidies may be available to states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges.

Just hours earlier, though, a ruling from a 3-person in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated the subsidies for people on the federally run exchanges. However, the full court nullified the ruling and decided to reconsider the case. Oral arguments for the Halbig case will begin on December 17.

On Monday, the Supreme Court took no action on the King case when it announced the list of cases it would hear. However, that does not mean the court won’t hear the case at all. There is another chance for the court to take up the case on November 10.

Before the Supreme Court made its decision, 5 lawmakers weighed-in on the lawsuits in The Washington Post last Thursday. Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Reps. Sander M. Levin (D-MI), George Miller (D-CA), and Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) wrote in their op-ed:

“In a series of legal challenges, opponents have inaccurately argued that Congress intended to provide financial help only to Americans living in the 14 states that directly run their own health insurance marketplaces, not in the 36 states that delegated administration of their marketplaces to the federal government.

“This interpretation is wrong.”

According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, 5 million people could be affected if the subsidies disappear from the federal marketplaces in states that did not set up their own exchanges.

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