The 10 words that we are referring to are “…through an Exchange established by the State under the Section 1311” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Supreme Court has weakened Obamacare’s contraception mandate which was only a very minor setback for the laws.
However alive in the courts are potentially a more damaging lawsuit, one that rivals 2012’s challenge to the law’s individual mandate in terms of its potential effect on this Affordable Act.
This case aims at federal insurance subsidies which is a key mechanism of the President Barack Obama’s signature law that have helped millions of lower-income Americans sign up for private insurance plans through the federal exchange. The challenge is aimed at blocking subsidies in states where insurance exchanges are handled by federal government.
Any day, the U.S Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected to hand down the ruling in Halbig v. Burwell that will set the chain of events in motion which could lead to the Supreme Court again.
In this case, the plaintiffs argue the way the law was written that does not allow for subsidies to be provided by the federal government; point to the statute that says subsidies should be issued to plans that are purchased through an Exchange established by the State under Section 1311 of the Obamacare (Affordable Care Act). Here, the Section 1311 establishes the state-run exchanges but plaintiffs complain that the law doesn’t permit subsidies in federal exchanges as per the Section 1321 of the law.
The challenge isn’t viewed as a completely serious one as of now because of lack of success of the subsidies argument in federal court so far where one could make the stakes extraordinarily high.
One of the most basic functions of the law is handing out subsidies to lower-income people; helps provide otherwise unaffordable health insurance. It could torpedo the law in case the federal subsidies are ruled illegal, without mentioning the wreak havoc on the subsidies already dished out.
A law professor at Washington and Lee University, Timothy Jost says that if the courts took the argument seriously then it will seriously damage the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; it can destroy the individual insurance market in 2/3rd of the states.…