Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Obamacare Got Knocked Down By Federal Judges!

Conservative judges strike down the subsides for the Affordable Care Act.

The president's signature law is under fire once again by the activist court. A three-judge panel ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that people in the 36 states that use the federal health insurance exchange are ineligible for subsidized insurance. The decision would also affect those who purchased insurance through the exchange but don't receive subsidies, as reneging on the payments would lead to a rapid increase in insurance rates for everyone.

Raymond Randolph, a Bush, sr. judge.
The White House said Tuesday the decision will be appealed to the entire D.C. circuit court -- what's known as an en banc review -- where Democrats hold a majority that is nearly certain to overturn the GOP judges' aggressive move. The next step could be the Supreme Court, which already upheld the Affordable Care Act in a separate case two years ago.

The two judges seized on text within the law that said subsidies would be provided to people who purchased insurance on exchanges established by the states. But 36 states declined to set up their own exchanges, and chose to rely on the federal government's exchange instead. Because the law doesn't specifically say that people who bought insurance on the federal exchange also get subsidies, the law's opponents argued that therefore such subsidies are illegal.

"The problem confronting the [ACA] is that subsidies also turn on a third attribute of Exchanges: who established them. Under section 36B, subsidies are available only for plans 'enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the [ACA],'" the majority opinion ruled, rejecting the counter-argument that other portions of the law specifically say that a federal exchange set up for a state is by definition a state exchange.

Thomas Griffin, W.'s appointed judge.
Halbig v. Burwell is a lawsuit that challenges the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. A July 8, 2014 Washington Post article described it as being "the next big Obamacare case." On June 30, 2014, the Los Angeles Times said that compared to the recent Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling, it was "a far more fundamental challenge to Obamacare."

The lawsuit challenges the power of the federal government to spend money on subsidies for policies that were purchased at the federal exchange. The plaintiff claims that the text of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act only allows federal subsidies for exchanges that were "established by the State under Section 1311."

The Washington Post reported, "Section 1311 instructs states to create exchanges. Federal exchanges are established under Section 1321 of the Act." Subsidies for citizens in 34 states are at risk, because people in those states signed up under the federal exchange.

This is an ongoing situation, we here at Journal de la Reyna will continue to cover this controversy.

The Republicans and their allies once again obsess with a law that benefits millions of Americans who can't afford insurance. This ruling could affect over 4.7 to 10 million who already signed for the federal assistance in healthcare coverage.

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