Thanks to two Appeals Court rulings Tuesday, President Barack Obama’s health care law–ObamaCare–ran into another road block.
According to White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, millions of consumers will keep getting financial aid for their premiums, which would add up to billions of dollars in total, as the Obama administration appeals the one decision.
The first ruling, coming from a divided three-judge panel in Washington D.C., interviewed subsidies that now help millions of low and middle-income people pay for their premiums and saying financial aid can be provided only in states that have their own insurance exchanges and markets.
On the other hand in Richmond, VA, another appeals court panel came to the opposite conclusion, ruling that the Internal Revenue Service interpreted the will of Congress when they issued their regulations that would allow health insurance tax credits for consumers in all 50 states.
Having split appeals court decisions can sometimes be appealed in the Supreme Court but not this time. The administration still has a legal card to play.
The administration will be asking the full 11-member appeals court to hear this case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has seven judges appointed by Democratic presidents will be deciding the outcomes of thus case.
It isn’t foolproof because if the full court comes out in favor of the administration , the Supreme Court would not be involved. On the other hand, if the District of Columbia court stays out of it. If there is a hearing it essentially leaves the panel’s decision in place, then the Supreme Court would weigh in.
The federal government is running the markets/exchanges in 36 states. The decision with the District of Columbia court agreed with the objections, in a 2-1 decision that for more than 8 million Americans their premiums would increase because they have purchased taxpayer-subsidized private insurance.
The majority opinion concluded that the law, as already written “unambiguously” restricts subsidies to consumers in exchanged established by the states. This would invalidate IRS regulation that is trying to sort out the mixed up wording in the law by Congress in all 50 states to have subsidized coverage.
What does that mean? It means that all 50 states can set up their own markets, but will have serious consequences both for the millions of people receiving tax credits through federal exchanges and for health insurance markets.
When President Barack Obama put the Affordable Care Act together it was meant to be inexpensive and that all Americans would have health care. But instead, it has been in many legal battles with many Americans being denied medical care, proving more costly than beneficial instead.