The DC Court of Appeals handed down it’s decision in Halbig vs Burwell, an ObamaCare challenge. The crux of the challenge is that the law, as written, says that people on exchanges established by a state can get the subsidies, people using the Federal exchange established by Uncle Sam cannot. This was done (they said at the time) as an incentive to encourage states to set up their own exchanges, and it was estimated that only a small number of knuckledragging states would fail to do so (so screw them)… (OK, so the last part was my words for their actions).
But when 34 states failed to set up their own exchange, it caused a problem. Millions of people don’t want to have their promised subsidies “taken away.” So, the HHS said “well, it really means any exchange, including the Federal one.” The DC Court of Appeals just said “No, state means state.” And, as an added bonus, just a few days ago the HHS itself said that in the ACA, “State” means “State,” not “state and/or territories.” A bit more than a week ago, Obama’s law professor said it would likely turn out this way.
This is potentially a nuclear bomb in the heart of the law. Next stop, en banc review on the (packed?) court, or the Supreme Court. Only downside is finding out how the Rs will manage to shoot themselves in the foot with this news (with the media’s willing help, of course.)
UPDATE: the 4th Circuit just ruled the other way on the same thing. Wow, that was timely.
Another one from Forbes. If upheld, it would cancel the subsidies, AND the tax for not buying insurance (i.e., kill the mandate).