Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Obamacare not likely to be threatened by Federal Circuit ruling

The Federal circuit’s ruling against federal tax breaks for consumers who buy “Obamacare” through the federal exchange probably won’t gut Obamacare in the long run. Tom Goldstein offers an op-ed in the Washington Post today, here.  There seem to be conflicting opinions from the federal circuit and the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, which means that (1) Obama can ask for an en banc hearing in the federal circuit and (2) if there are still conflicting opinions after that process, the Supreme Court will certainly hear it.  And SCOTUS is unlikely to say that the federal government cannot return money to taxpayers.  Further, as Goldstein explains, the Court will probably allow the administration discretion in subsidies if the language of the law is ambiguous enough, which is what the (conservative) Fourth Circuit said.

Ezra Klein of Vox Media explains the ruling in “three sentences” here

The Halbig v. Burwell (federal circuit) opinion text is here . The King v. Burwell (4th Circuit) is here
Sometimes the I-95 drive 108 miles south is blessed. 

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