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Issue: "Legal Challenges"

Hadley Heath: Policy Focus: King v. Burwell

Independent Women's Forum
Wed, 2015-02-25
On March 4, 2015, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell. The key issue in this case is how the government may provide subsidies to people buying health insurance through government exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare. This case could also determine whether millions of Americans are free from the law’s onerous mandates and fines. There are effectively two categories of exchanges: those “Established by a State” (described in Section 1311 of the law’s text) and the federal exchange (described in Section 1321). The statute authorizes the federal government to provide subsidies to enrollees in the state-established exchanges, but not the federal exchange. When it became clear that many states — today as many as 37 — would not establish their own exchanges, the IRS issued a rule in 2012 allowing those who purchase insurance through the federal exchange to also receive subsidies. Plaintiffs in King v.

Chris Conover: Do Obamacare's Challengers Have A 'Nutty,' 'Stupid' Or 'Screwy' Interpretation Of The Law?

Forbes
Fri, 2015-02-20
As the SCOTUS oral arguments in King v. Burwell draw near, the cacophony from liberal outlets is nearly deafening. The plaintiffs’ position is “absurd ,” they cry. Congress “never contemplated withholding premium subsidies” in noncooperative states. Even the Obama administration argued that “it would have been perverse for Senators concerned about federalism to insist on pressuring States to participate in the implementation of a federal statute.”[1] Perverse? Jonathan Gruber (whose position on the issue is “complicated”[2]) is equally disdainful, calling the challengers’ stance “nutty,” “stupid,” and a “screwy interpretation” of the law. Really? Were Obamacare architects incapable of using “sticks” masquerading as “carrots” to coerce states into setting up Exchanges?

Jason Millman: Democrats are Bracing for Another Obamacare Backlash

The Washington Post
Wed, 2015-02-18
The Obamacare window technically just closed this weekend, but a new round of political headaches could just be beginning for the administration. That's because it's tax season, and many Americans could soon be getting an unwelcome surprise that they owe the government a penalty for skipping health insurance coverage. Up to 6 million Americans are expected to pay a penalty for not having coverage in 2014, according to recent Obama administration projections. The 2014 penalty for this tax season is $95, or 1 percent of family income — purposefully on the weaker side to let people adjust to this new coverage scheme. Most of the uninsured won't actually face the penalty because they'll qualify for an exemption, either related to their inability to afford coverage or some other hardship.

Grace-Marie Turner and Diana Furchtgott-Roth: A New Fix for Obamacare

The New York Times
Sat, 2015-02-14
EARLY next month the Supreme Court will hear arguments in King v. Burwell, the latest significant legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act. The petitioners argue that under the statute, the federal government is not allowed to provide health insurance subsidies in the 37 states that have either declined or failed to establish their own exchanges. Should the court decide in the petitioners’ favor, most likely in June, critics in Congress will feel vindicated. But then comes the hard part: Congress must be ready with a targeted plan to help at least six million people who would quickly lose that federal assistance, and most likely their insurance. While several Republicans in Congress have offered serious proposals to replace Obamacare, debating a wholesale replacement of the Affordable Care Act would take months, even years. But it is essential for Congress to move fast on a short-term solution.

Doug Badger: Approaching ObamaCare with Humility

The Hill
Fri, 2015-02-13
Approaching ObamaCare With Humility Washington can’t get out of Its own way on health care. Give states a chance. President Obama spoke frequently of humility during last week’s prayer breakfast. Congressional Republicans could use a healthy measure of that virtue should the Supreme Court rule that ObamaCare subsidies are not available in the 37 states with federally-facilitated exchanges. ObamaCare is the product of a yawning humility deficit. Its core conceit is that a group of very smart and ideologically like-minded people could reorganize the financing of a $3 trillion industry that touches the lives of 320 million Americans. Its architects boast that more people have “selected a plan” this time around than during the program’s disastrous initial open season.

What Happens To The ACA If The Petitioners In King v Burwell Win At The Supreme Court?

Forbes
Thu, 2015-02-12
By Tom Miller and Grace-Marie Turner One of the mechanisms through which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expands access to health insurance is through tax subsidies provided to individuals to help offset the cost of health insurance. These subsidies are only available if people purchase highly-regulated and -mandated policies that are sold only through government-run insurance exchanges. The law’s formula for determining the amount of these premium subsidies specifies that people are eligible for them if they are enrolled in qualified plans offered in “an Exchange established by the State under [section] 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” However, only 13 states are operating state-based exchanges this year. The rest are relying on exchanges created by the federal government.

If SCOTUS Rules Against ACA Subsidies

Real Clear Policy
Mon, 2015-02-09
By Tom Miller & Grace-Marie Turner Tax subsidies are one of the mechanisms through which the Affordable Care Act expands access to health insurance. These subsidies are available only to those who purchase highly regulated policies through government-run exchanges, and are allocated on a monthly basis to insurance companies to offset the costs of premiums and sometimes out-of-pocket costs. The law's formula for determining the amount of these premium subsidies specifies that people are eligible for them if they are enrolled in qualified plans offered in "an Exchange established by the State under [section] 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." Only 13 states are operating such exchanges this year. The rest are relying on exchanges created by the federal government. But in 2012, the IRS wrote a rule that allows the subsidies to flow through the federal exchanges as well.

Elisabeth Rosenthal: Insured, but Not Covered

New York Times
Mon, 2015-02-09
WHEN Karen Pineman of Manhattan received notice that her longtime health insurance policy didn’t comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirements, she gamely set about shopping for a new policy through the public marketplace. After all, she’d supported President Obama and the act as a matter of principle. Ms. Pineman, who is self-employed, accepted that she’d have to pay higher premiums for a plan with a narrower provider network and no out-of-network coverage. She accepted that she’d have to pay out of pocket to see her primary care physician, who didn’t participate. She even accepted having co-pays of nearly $1,800 to have a cast put on her ankle in an emergency room after she broke it while playing tennis.

Assessing the Universal Exchange Plan

American Enterprise Institute
Tue, 2015-02-03
Key Points •Avik Roy’s Transcending Obamacare reform proposal retains a number of core features of the Affordable Care Act, even while promising to modify them at the margins. •Despite the plan’s initial aversion to political risk, Roy places several longshot bets on proposed policy reform results. •The plan strives too narrowly to ensure that high-deductible health insurance will be the dominant (or, perhaps, exclusive) form of exchange-based coverage and neglects or avoids a number of other reform opportunities. It is also prone to overly optimistic fiscal projections, insufficient details, and ad hoc revisions that fail to hold together.

Philip Klein: Here comes the next Obamacare showdown

Washington Examiner
Tue, 2015-01-27
If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in June that health insurance subsidies for millions of Americans are illegal, Republicans better not be caught flat-footed, because President Obama will be ready to pounce, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., told the Washington Examiner in an interview. “As the president said to me in the White House [earlier this month], he said, ‘There are five million people [who receive subsidies through the federal exchange] — and I know who they are.’ He spoke like a community organizer who was going to try to use those people that he has actually caused significant damage to by not applying the law,” Barrasso said from his senate office.

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