18-Nov-14 9:45 AM  CST

ACA Battle Potentially Headed Back to the Supreme Court

It looks like another argument against the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act may be headed back to the Supreme Court. On November 7th the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge stating the millions of dollars ofsubsides given to low and middle income households in order to purchase health insurance, were done so illegally. The lawsuit states that the federal government over stepped its bounds by providing subsides to individuals in 36 states where the government runs online markets and exchanges.

            The ACA, which has been bombarded with trouble since it was signed into law in 2012, has three basic elements of structure. The first element involves the implementation of market reform, or those places where individuals may purchase health care insurance. The second element of structure allows for the development of new health insurance marketplaces or exchanges, and the final element is the expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults. It is these three elements of structure that are being called into question.

            There are actually four cases pending against the federal government and each one challenging the federal governments ability to offer subsidies to individuals in the 36 states that decided against establishing state-run exchanges. The individuals receiving subsidies from the federal government signed up for health insurance through online exchanges run by the federal government. The lawsuits now pending in the Supreme Court states this was a flagrant overstep of power against states deciding not to establish state-run exchanges, and moreover, an abuse of power by the Obama Administration.

            If the Supreme Court does decide to hear the challenges it would be an unprecedented move, and one that could seriously call into question the continued viability of the ACA. While the Obama administration remains confident the ACA will remain intact, the Supreme Court may very well have the last word.





Carey, M. “Consumer’s Guide to Supreme Court’s Action on ACA Subsidy Issue”, Kaiser Health News, 11-07-14, http://kaiserhealthnews.org/news/halbig-faq-insurance-subsidies-federal-marketplace-exchange/, referenced, 14,November

Conover, C. “Supreme Court Poised for a Do-Over on Obamacare”, 09-03-14, http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2014/09/30/supreme-court-poised-for-a-do-over-on-obamacare/, referenced 14.November 2014


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Source: Sandy Andrews  

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