The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rules against the Obama Administration, and “ruled that only Americans in states with their own exchanges for insurance can get financial subsidies,” and hours later the Richmond 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled exactly the opposite.
Why would they do that?
The PPACA is very specific in that subsidies were to be given to enrollees in the State Exchanges. It is silent on the issue of Federal Exchanges. This is about wording, versus intent. When you pass a 17,000 page piece of legislation, its too big to catch every mistake. This was a big omission. It undoubtedly will be left to the Supreme Court to decide this issue. Can the Federal Government give subsidies to individuals if they are not specifically authorized to do so by law? It is apparent that was the intention of the law, and this has been a known issue for four years. True to form for the Obama administration – rather than putting in a legal fix for this in the four years before implementation, they just went ahead and did it anyway.
What could happen? Should I panic?
This will take a couple of years to get to the Supreme Court and get a ruling, one would expect. With an estimated $1 Billion a year in subsidies, they would have a huge problem trying to retroactively collect the subsidies back from you, the insured. Especially since 90% of those that received subsidies where previously uninsured, and cannot afford insurance without the subsidy. Furthermore, in many cases the individual receiving the subsidy has no financial ability to pay it back in any case.
So no, Don’t panic. but pay attention. It is important, and it is bound to be used by the opposition in this years midterm election as a club, along with the other two setbacks the administration has received for overstepping their boundaries. Seat belts please.