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Focus on Healthcare: Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Affordable Care Act Subsidies Case

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This week the Supreme Court heard arguments in King v. Burwell, a case centered on the issue of the constitutionality/legality of insurance premium subsidies received by individuals purchasing health insurance on the federally run health insurance exchange.
March 6, 2015

This week the Supreme Court heard arguments in King v. Burwell, a case centered on the issue of the constitutionality/legality of insurance premium subsidies received by individuals purchasing health insurance on the federally run health insurance exchange.

The plaintiffs in the case argue that premium subsidies in the form of tax credits that are received on the federally run exchange are unconstitutional.  They argue that the ACA was intended, based on clear language in the legislation, to provide those credits only for those receiving insurance on state run exchanges.  

Defendants argue that the wording of the Affordable Care Act that refers to credits only being given on exchanges “established by the state,” is an error in how the legislation was drafted.  Plaintiffs disagree.

Sixteen states are running their own exchanges today so the subsidies received by individuals who purchased insurance on those 16 exchanges are not being challenged in this case.  

Many, on both sides of the argument, have stated that if the Supreme Court rules that the subsidies are unconstitutional it could be crippling to the Affordable Care Act.  What the ultimate result of that would be is difficult to predict.

A decision from the Supreme Court is expected in June or July.

 

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