SCOTUS: Second Obamacare Challenge Gets Its Court Date

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Dec 22, 2014 9:00 PM
SCOTUS: Second Obamacare Challenge Gets Its Court Date

Well, the day has arrived! On March 4, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on King v. Burwell, which will determine the fate of Obamacare. The King case was decided around the same time as Halbig v. Burwell, which argued similar points over health care subsidies for exchanges “established by the state.”

The Fourth Circuit of Appeals sided with the government, while the D.C. Court of Appeals sided with Halbig, which Guy mentioned would increase the likelihood that this case will head to the Supreme Court (via WSJ):

The Supreme Court said it will hear oral arguments on March 4 in a lawsuit over whether the Obama administration is improperly providing tax credits to consumers who purchase health insurance through the federal exchanges.

The case will determine the fate of the tax credits to millions of consumers who have obtained insurance coverage through HealthCare.gov, the federal marketplace. The Supreme Court decided Nov. 7 to hear the lawsuit from Virginia, King v. Burwell, that challenges a key part of the Affordable Care Act. In all, an estimated 4.7 million people receive billions of dollars in subsidies to buy health coverage on the federal exchange.

Challengers claim the language in the health law only permits people who buy insurance from state-run exchanges to obtain the tax credits. Supporters of the law say it was always intended to provide the subsidies to people who bought coverage on the federal exchanges, too. HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange, now serves 37 states.

On March 4, the Supreme Court will only hear arguments related to the King case.

The tax credits are considered central to the law’s success. Under the ACA, most Americans must have health insurance or pay a penalty. The exchanges let individuals who don’t have insurance from their employer, Medicaid or Medicare to purchase insurance policies, with tax credits for lower-income consumers.

So, mark your calendars fellow health care wonks, journalists, bloggers, and political junkies; the ACA is heading back to court.