New Court Twist ‘Blows Hole Through Middle of ObamaCare’

With John Roberts making decisions on ObamaCare, I’m not holding my breath.
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While critics of the employer contraception mandate celebrate last week’s victory at the Supreme Court, another looming legal decision in Washington has the potential to gut the most significant components of the entire Affordable Care Act by declaring the majority of health-care subsidies illegal.

“This is a really serious one that goes to the heart of the law because it’s all about subsidies. If these subsidies aren’t legal, then all of Obamacare is really called into question,” said Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, a leading health policy research group.

Attorneys and activists on both sides of this debate are awaiting the ruling of a three-judge panel on the D.C. Court of Appeals in the case of Halbig v. Burwell. The plaintiffs contend the health-care law plainly states subsidies are only to be granted to those who enroll through state exchanges. However, as the result of a 2012 Supreme Court decision, 36 states opted out of that responsibility and the federal government filled the gap through its infamous exchange at Healthcare.gov.

Turner said the law is clear about how subsidies are to be distributed, and this potential court disaster is largely the result of the haphazard way the law was passed in the first place.

“This law was very sloppily written and never intended to go into effect as it was done. Because of a lot of behind-the-scenes maneuvering, we wound up basically with a draft as the law. Well, the law says that the subsidies for health insurance can only be distributed through state exchanges,” said Turner.

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