ObamaCare is heading back to the Supreme Court
If this Supreme Court strikes down the IRS subsidies in states without a state-based health-insurance exchange, Illinois employers and employees would see much-needed relief.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider hearing a legal challenge to ObamaCare in a case that could significantly undo the health-insurance law in 34 states. Illinois has not established a state-based exchange and should not – under any circumstances – do so.
At issue is what the plain text of Section 1401 of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, means. Even though the text of the law states that the subsidies are available only “through an Exchange established by the State under 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” the IRS, without congressional authorization, allowed federal subsidies to flow into states participating in the federal exchange when it implemented the law.
Today, the Supreme Court agreed to review the decision in King v. Burwell. The plaintiffs in this case challenged the IRS’s rule that made insurance subsidies available in all states, contrary to the text of the Affordable Care Act. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the legality of the IRS subsidies in July.
In what The Wall Street Journal called a master class in persuasion, attorney for the King plaintiffs wrote in the petition:
“In short, the Court may either resolve this issue before tens of billions of dollars are lost, before employers restructure their workforces to avoid the employer mandate, before individuals rely on subsidies in making health-care decisions, before insurers revamp their offerings to account for new risk pools, and before more States default to the HHS Exchange assuming no consequences follow— or delay until after that reliance, on the Government’s baseless assertion that this matter of extraordinary national importance and heated jurisprudential debate will go away on its own.”
If this Supreme Court strikes down the IRS subsidies in states without a state-based health-insurance exchange, Illinois employers and employees would see much-needed relief. If the plaintiffs in these cases were to ultimately prevail, the IRS would not have the ability to subject approximately 16,000 Illinois employers (employing 3.8 million Illinoisans) and 455,000 Illinois individuals to IRS penalties under the ACA.
Congressional lawmakers, as well as state lawmakers in the 34 states that did not establish a state-based ObamaCare exchange, would have the opportunity to pass meaningful health-care reform in a way that respects taxpayers, provides for the truly needy and addresses health-care costs – delivering on the original ObamaCare promises.