Short Takes On News & Events

Judge Greenlights Legal Challenge To Health Law’s Subsidies

By Stephanie Stapleton

October 23rd, 2013, 5:05 PM

There are more days in court ahead for the health law.

On Tuesday, a federal judge delivered a mixed decision, allowing a lawsuit to proceed that challenges whether the government can legally provide some health plan subsidies. The subsidies are being given to people who meet certain eligibility requirements to help pay for coverage purchased from the new online insurance marketplaces.

According to press reports, the plaintiffs’ argue that these subsidies cannot be used for policies sold on healthcare.gov, the federal health insurance marketplace.  They maintain that the law, as written, stipulates that the subsidies are for use on state exchanges. More than 30 states opted not to create an exchange and instead defer to the federal government.

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman did not grant a preliminary injunction to prevent the financial assistance from being available while the case, Halbig v. Sebelius, works its way through the courts. In August, a federal judge in Oklahoma allowed a similar case to go forward.

In a Kaiser Health News column published last November, Stuart Taylor dissected the key issues in play as these lawsuits continue. Here it is if you are interested in reviewing the specifics.

4 Responses to “Judge Greenlights Legal Challenge To Health Law’s Subsidies”

  1. Leslie Gyi says:

    Would like to see more information on, “…More than 30 states opted not to create an exchange and instead defer to the federal government.”

  2. Nonsenseyousay says:

    Why do you need more information? The law allowed States to opt out, and leave the federal government to take up the slack. This has been widely reported over the past two years.

  3. 11bravo says:

    The States deferred NOTHING to the Feds!
    The Law as written does not give the fed the authorization to give out subsidies where there are no state exchanges.
    Our Constitution is constantly being interpreted backwards on the 10th amendment. The powers not listed/given to the federal government are left “to the states” or the people themselves.
    Just because the law does not prohibit it…does not mean it authorizes the fed to do it.

  4. margie says:

    This was already hashed out at all levels and from all directions at the SCOTUS. Constitutional lawyers went over this with a microscope. If you think a lower court is going to overrule, you really need to get professional help.

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