Tags: Healthcare Reform | Supreme Court | Obamacare | March | arguments | lawsuit

High Court Sets March Hearing in Obamacare Lawsuit

By    |   Monday, 22 Dec 2014 06:28 PM

High noon for Obamacare is scheduled for March 4, when the Supreme Court has announced that it will hear verbal arguments in a lawsuit that could mean the end for the controversial Affordable Care Act.

The high court announced in November that it will hear the case, which will settle a disagreement between two lower courts.

A Richmond appeals court upheld IRS regulations allowing health insurance tax credits in all 50 states.

A Washington, D.C., appellate panel, however, struck down the IRS regulations, holding that healthcare subsidies could be provided only in those states that set up their own insurance exchanges, not those in which the federal HealthCare.gov is the exchange agency, Fox News reports.

Should the case, King v. Burwell, be decided in favor of those opposing the subsidies, it could unravel Obamacare in the 37 states with federally operated exchanges, according to the Kaiser Foundation, Georgia Health News reports.

A section of the ACA notes that tax credits, or subsidies, are available only "through an exchange established by the state," according to Business Insurance, while the Obama administration argues that the intent of the law was to provide healthcare to all, whether through state or federal exchanges.

Sam Kazman, general counsel of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is funding the case, commented, "You simply cannot have agencies rewriting the law to suit their purposes or whim," CNBC reported.

"Legal scholars and health policy experts have warned that the case is the biggest legal threat against Obamacare since 2012, when the Supreme Court upheld most provisions of the law," The Hill noted.

The American Civil Liberties Union, in a brief, noted that "legislative purpose must be effected by the words Congress uses, not the words it might have meant or should have chosen to use. Courts are not empowered . . . to divine Congress' overarching objective and then reverse-engineer a version of the law that best achieves it," the Washington Times reported.

"Without the tax credits and mandates, insurance premiums would go through the roof and the entire individual insurance market could collapse in many states," wrote Tim Jost, Washington and Lee law professor, Healthcare Dive reported.

This is because 5 million people are signed up for healthcare subsidies averaging about 75 percent of the face value of their policies, and may not be able to afford them without subsidies.

Employers could drop ACA-required health coverage on employees without paying a penalty in states using the federal exchange, because the employer mandate is contingent on employers' receiving federal tax credits.

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High noon for Obamacare is scheduled for March 4, when the Supreme Court has announced that it will hear verbal arguments in a lawsuit that could mean the end for the controversial Affordable Care Act.
Obamacare, March, arguments, lawsuit
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2014-28-22
Monday, 22 Dec 2014 06:28 PM
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