[Ed – Same court, no problem when they ruled in favor of Obamacare.]
At last count, more than 8 million people are getting healthcare through an Obamacare exchange. Almost three-quarters of them are using the federal exchange. These millions of Americans ought to be able to finally leave behind the stress of living with no insurance or inadequate or unaffordable insurance. But thanks to two cases decided by federal appeals courts Tuesday, their security and peace of mind remain at risk.
The courts in those two cases, Halbig vs. Burwell and King vs. Burwell, reached opposite decisions, and the ultimate outcome will probably be determined by another contentious decision from the Supreme Court.
In these cases, opponents of Obamacare argue that the Affordable Care Act prohibits people who purchase insurance on exchanges set up by the federal government from obtaining the tax subsidies that the act otherwise provides. In other words, the millions of people who enrolled in the 36 states that refused to set up their own exchanges — and instead left the job to the federal government — are potentially not eligible for the subsidies.
In the Halbig case, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with that argument by a 2-1 vote. However, a panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., rejected the argument in the King case, creating a split that signals more litigation.