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November 3, 2014

Matthews: 'Bad News' SCOTUS Won't Hear Obamacare Subsidy Case

Calls Decision To Wait 'A Shame'
 

DALLAS, TX—The Supreme Court's decision to pass on hearing —at least for now—one of the most important current legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act, King v Burwell, will only promote public confusion and create even more difficulty to make necessary changes should the Court eventually agree with King.

The Institute for Policy Innovation’s (IPI) resident scholar Merrill Matthews, Ph.D. said, “The Court’s decision not to hear this important challenge to the Affordable Care Act seems ill-considered, because it allows the federal government to continue its unlawful practice of providing health insurance subsidies in the 36 states that did not create a state health insurance exchange."

"If the government cannot legally provide those subsidies, as a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and a federal judge in Oklahoma have ruled, it makes little sense to allow the government to continue handing out billions of taxpayer dollars, while the Supreme Court waits for a later date to accept the case."

In July, the ruling from the three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit effectively defunded ObamaCare in nearly two-thirds of the states by agreeing with Halbig that statutory language in the ACA makes federal subsidies available only to the 14 states that created their own health insurance exchanges. The DC Circuit will now have an en banc hearing in front of all the judges, including three recent liberal Obama appointees.

However, the Fourth Circuit ruled at the same time, in King v Burwell, that the subsidies were allowable because the statutory language was ambiguous.

A decision for King would effectively eliminate the employer mandate to provide coverage in the 36 states as well as the individual mandate for middle- and lower-income workers. "A decision for King may be our last best chance to remove this costly health insurance mandate from the backs of millions of Americans. It's a shame the Court has decided to wait," said Matthews.

The Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) is an independent, nonprofit public policy organization based in Dallas. IPI resident scholar Merrill Matthews, Ph.D. is available for interview by contacting Erin Humiston at (972) 874-5139, or erin@ipi.org.

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