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November 07, 2014

Supreme Court Accepts Obamacare Subsidies Challenge for Review

This is that challenge we've been talking about for literally more than a year.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider a challenge to the subsidies that are a linchpin of President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul, accepting a case that suddenly puts the law under a new legal cloud.

Two years after upholding much of the law by a single vote, the justices today said they will hear a Republican-backed appeal targeting tax credits that have helped more than 4 million people afford insurance.

A ruling blocking those credits might unravel the law, making other provisions ineffective and potentially destabilizing insurance markets in much of the country. The high court's decision to hear the case comes days before the start of the law's second open-enrollment season Nov. 15. A decision will come by June.

...

The legal dispute centers on a four-word statutory phrase. The law says people qualify for tax credits when they buy insurance on an online marketplace "established by the state."

Those words are significant because only 14 states have set up their own marketplaces, known as exchanges. The rest have left the job to the federal government, as the law permits. The question is whether people can collect the subsidies even if they buy policies on the federal exchange.

Under a rule issued by the Internal Revenue Service, consumers can claim tax credits no matter where they live. The Obama administration says the IRS approach is consistent with the law's aims.

...

Critics say Obama has adopted an interpretation that flies in the face of clear statutory language.

"Nothing in the ACA supports the notion that Congress meant to create the legal fiction that the federal government acts on behalf of a state when it establishes an exchange," five Republican senators led by John Cornyn of Texas argued in support of the appeal.

That the Supreme Court has accepted this case for cert is surprising -- because they don't have to do so. There is currently no circuit split among the courts of appeals -- the Halbig decision, from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, is no longer the court's ruling, as the entire court is reconsidering it en banc.

So why step in and grant review?

Per Allah's post, some are taking this as a sign that maybe four judges, at least, wish to rule on Obamacare's constitutionality again.

In other news I got from the commenters, Ed Gillespie will concede the Virginia Senate election.


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posted by Ace at 01:40 PM

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