One court rules against Obamacare, another court rules in favor

One court rules against Obamacare, another court rules in favor

On the same day that the Fourth Circuit of Appeals ruled in favor of government subsidies for people signing up for Obamacare health coverage, a second appeals court in the District of Columbia has ruled against such subsidies.

The DC Circuit Court seems to have determined it’s ruling on what appears to be the equivalent of a typo.

Via Vox:

The plaintiffs rely on an unclearly worded sentence in the law to argue that Congress never intended to provide subsidies in federally-run exchanges and so the subsidies that are currently being provided in those 36 states are illegal and need to stop immediately.

This is plainly ridiculous. The point of Obamacare is to subsidize insurance for those who can’t afford it. The point of the federal exchanges is to make sure the law works even in states that can’t or won’t set up an exchange.

For Congress to write a law that provides for federal exchanges but doesn’t permit money to flow through them would have been like Congress writing a transportation law that builds federal highways but doesn’t allow cars, bikes or buses to travel on them.

Meanwhile, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals saw things differently:

“It is…clear that widely available tax credits are essential to fulfilling the Act’s primary goals and that Congress was aware of their importance when drafting the bill,” the Fourth Circuit Court ruled.

Only 16 states and the District of Columbia set up their own exchanges. This would mean, following the DC Circuit Court ruling, that the 4.7 million who signed up for subsidized health coverage through HealthCare.gov would be affected.

The Obama administration has said it will appeal to the full District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

For now, the law remains unaffected by the rulings until all appeals are exhausted.