Tag Archives: Obamacare

How to Handle Victory in King v. Burwell

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a legal challenge to the provision of President Obama’s national healthcare law that subsidizes insurance premiums for those enrolled in federal health exchanges.

The justices considered whether the IRS acted outside its authority when it permitted subsidies to healthcare.gov enrollees in the 37 states that did not establish their own insurance exchanges.

The plaintiffs had a strong case, as the letter of the law states that subsidies are available only “through an Exchange established by the State.” The IRS defined a state exchange as a “State Exchange, regional Exchange, subsidiary Exchange, and Federally-facilitated Exchange,” taking the pressure off states to establish their own exchanges. The subsidies were designed to encourage the creation of state exchanges.

What should be done if the IRS’s actions are found to be illegal? One interesting post-Kingproposal comes from Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner and Economics21 Director Diana Furchtgott-Roth.

A Supreme Court ruling in favor of the plaintiffs would force Congress and President Obama to the negotiating table. Besides passing legislation that allows already-promised subsides to remain, this could be used as an opportunity to return flexibility and state control to health insurance markets.

As Turner and Furchtgott-Roth explain, “the 37 states without exchanges could receive a new, capped allotment from the federal government that we call Health Checks. States could use the allocation to provide immediate premium assistance to people affected by the court decision, and similar checks could be extended to others who would need insurance afterward.”

Read the rest at the Washington Examiner…

Advocate Jared Published in E21 on HealthCare.Gov’s Birthday

Advocate Jared Meyer was published in The Manhattan Institute’s E21 on the first birthday of HealthCare.gov.

I woke up this morning expecting to find the White House celebrating Healthcare.gov’s first birthday. When I saw no mention on the website, I checked California Representative Nancy Pelosi’s websiteand Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s—again, no mentions. Where is the fanfare? Where are the photo ops?

You can find the full piece here.

If you’d like to book Jared or any other Advocate, please contact Young Voices.

Advocate Nick Published in PanAm Post on Obamacare

Advocate Nick Zaiac was published in The PanAmerican Post making a moral case against the Affordable Care Act

Even government programs that come at “no cost” to the individual are not free. Beyond time and effort, there is the lack of choice to consider, as well as other distortions. When governments attempt to give things away “for free” — or at a highly subsidized rate — problems will inevitably arise.

You can read the entire piece here.

If you’d like to book Nick or any other Advocate, please contact Young Voices.

Here’s What Halbig v. Burwell’s All About in Seven Steps

Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck another blow to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ruling in Halbig v. Burwell that the federal government cannot provide subsidies to federal exchanges.  What exactly does that mean? Here’s a layman’s explanation in seven simple parts:

  1. The ACA mandates individuals and employers to purchase health insurance. More specifically, individuals must have health insurance by 2014, and employers with more than 50 full-time employees must provide health insurance by 2015 (although there’s a number of exceptions).
  2. To fulfill the mandate, the ACA created exchanges for individuals and employers to purchase “affordable” health insurance subsidized by the federal government. The exchanges serve as online marketplaces where individuals earning 100-400% of the federal poverty line are eligible for subsidies in order to put the “Affordable” in “Affordable Care Act.”
  3. The ACA gave states the option of creating a state-administered exchange or defer to the federal government to create one. 17 states opted to run their own, 27 decided to defer to the Feds, and 7 created so-called “partnership marketplaces” in cooperation with Washington.
  4. Whether intentional or not, the ACA as written provides federal subsidies to state exchanges but says nothing about subsidies to federal exchanges. The Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon theorized that this  omission was an intentional feature of the law in order to incentivize states to create their own exchanges. Many ACA defendants, on the other hand, argued that it was a simple drafting error.
  5. In 2012, the IRS finalized a regulation requiring the federal government to provide subsidies to federal exchanges, despite the fact this power was missing from the law. A number of individuals and businesses promptly sued in four appeals court circuits, hence the Halbig case.
  6. In Halbig, the Plaintiffs argued the omission was intentional, the government argued that it’s irrelevant. The plaintiffs went with Cannon’s theory that the omission is a feature, not a mistake, of the law to encourage states to create their own exchanges.  The Feds, on the other hand, essentially argued that the text of the ACA treats the two exchanges as equivalent.
  7. The DC Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Halbig, creating a circuit split. On the same day as the Halbig decision, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia upheld the federal subsidies as legal. These conflicting rulings inevitably mean the matter will be decided by the Supreme Court, foreshadowing more wonky drama in the near future.