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2 Courts, 2 Different Decisions on Key Obamacare Provision
Date:7/23/2014

By
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In a wild day for Obamacare, two federal appeals courts arrived at completely different conclusions Tuesday on the use of financial subsidies provided to millions of Americans who bought health insurance through the federal HealthCare.gov exchange.

The conflicting opinions suggest that the matter is headed for a showdown before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a 2-1 ruling Tuesday morning, the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit said that the subsidies -- in the form of tax credits -- may only be provided to people who buy health plans in states that run their own health insurance exchanges. The exchanges are intended to let consumers shop for insurance plans that best meet their medical needs and financial abilities.

"We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance," Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith wrote for the majority.

"At least until states that wish to can set up exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for the millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly," he concluded.

In a dissenting opinion, Harry Edwards, a member of the three-judge District of Columbia panel, said, "This case is about appellants' not-so-veiled attempt to gut the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."

The lawsuit was filed by a group of individuals and employers in states that did not establish health exchanges. They maintain that the Internal Revenue Service erred in extending subsidies to people who bought health plans through the federally run exchange.

But in a separate ruling later Tuesday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., upheld the IRS's interpretatio
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