Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Appeals Courts Conflict on Health Law Subsidies

It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.. If two laws conflict with one another, the court must decide.

John Marshall (1755- 1835), First Supreme Court Chief Justice

It is starting to look like the Supreme Court will again have to decide if ObamaCare meets the letter of laws governing the President and his executive actions.

Today, Tuesday, July 22, 2014, two appeals courts issued two conflicting rulings of ObamaCare within hours of each other.

• The D.C. circuit court rules 2:1 that subsidies could only be available in state exchanges, not in the 36 federal exchanges, thereby ruling invalid subsidies given in the recent health exchange launch, which ended on April 1 and in subsequent two weeks.

• The U.S. Appeals Court for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond , unananimousliy struck down this challenge to ObamaCare subsidies, which effectively the entire intent of the ACA.

These conflicting decisions come in the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision to invalidate part of the Contraceptive Mandate, a setback for ObamaCare.

If subsidies are blocked, an estimated 7.3 million people – about 62% of those expected to enroll in federal exchanges by 2016 – will lose out on $36.1 billion in subsidies. As matters now stand, people qualify for subsidies with incomes under $45,960 for individuals and $94, 210 for families of four.

On the other hand, if subsidies continue, health care premiums may rise to unacceptable levels for many of the middle class.

A negative rulings by either the full court of appeals, expected soon, or the Supreme Court latter, should it accept the case, would effectively kill the Employer and Individual mandates and ObamaCare itself.

If the subsidies case goes before the Supreme Court, ObamaCare success is not a given court rulings so far on Hobby Lobby and the 13 to 0 record of recent negative Court rulings against Obama.


1. Paige Winfield Cunningham, “Wild Day for ObamaCare: Appeals Court Rulings Conflict, Politico, July 22. 2014.

2. Robert Pear, “Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings on Health Care Law,” New York Times, July 22, 2014.

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