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View Diary: Obamacare 'rate shock' myth debunked (93 comments)

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  •  Curious about the status of these 2 court cases (0+ / 0-)

    Can anyone shed any light on these 2 federal court cases? I don't know where to begin but clearly these are important cases because they challenge the availability of subsidies or tax credits in the 34 states that have refused to establish their own state exchanges.

    Pruitt v. Sebelius (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma) and Halbig v. Sebelius (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia) challenge the IRS regulation expanding the availability of premium subsidies to individuals enrolled in a Federally-operated Exchange. The plaintiffs claim that the issuance of the subsidies to individuals enrolled in a Federal Exchange is contrary to the specific provisions of PPACA and injures them in several ways, including forcing individuals to either pay a penalty or purchase insurance and subjecting employers to the play or pay penalties under the employer mandate from which they would otherwise be exempt due to the unavailability of subsidies to individuals in their respective State.

    "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

    by annan on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 09:17:38 AM PDT

    •  Wow, some service to Oklahoma residents (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annan

      annan, I wasn't aware of these cases and I'm not familiar with them.

      But, boy, that's some Attorney General that the poor people of Oklahoma have in Scott Pruitt, the "Pruitt" in Pruitt v. Sebelius.

      As I understand Pruitt's argument, it is that ONLY people who get their insurance from a state exchange are entitled to a subsidy. People who get their insurance through a federal exchange because their state doesn't have an exchange are not eligible for a subsidy.

      Oklahoma hasn't set up a state exchange. Oklahomans will get insurance through the federal exchange.

      It sounds to me like he is so ideologically committed to thwarting ACA that he will throw his own state residents under the bus. No subsidies for his state's residents, he says.

      •  Thanks for writing this synopsis. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        True North

        The other case argues that the IRS doesn't have jurisdiction. The plaintiffs are individuals and businesses from Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Texas and Kansas.

        The legal argument that the plaintiffs will be injured if the subsidies and tax credits are available in their state simply boggles my mind. However, the possibility that the IRS ruling is in itself illegal is unnerving.

        2. To encourage states to establish Exchanges, Congress used carrots, such as start-up grants to help fund the creation of Exchanges; and sticks, such as prohibiting states from tightening Medicaid eligibility standards before setting up Exchanges. The biggest carrot was the offer of premium-assistance subsidies from the Federal Treasury—refundable tax credits to help a state’s low- and moderate-income residents buy insurance—if that state set up its own Exchange. States rejecting the offer got a stick instead: the imposition of a federally-established, federally-operated Exchange in the state, with no subsidies at all.
        4. Notwithstanding express statutory language limiting premium-assistance subsidies to Exchanges established by states, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has promulgated a regulation (“the IRS Rule” or “the Subsidy Expansion Rule”) purporting to authorize subsidies even in states with only federally-established Exchanges, thereby disbursing monies from the Federal Treasury in excess of the authority granted by the Act. The IRS Rule squarely contravenes the express text of the ACA, ignoring the clear limitations that Congress imposed on the availability of the federal subsidies. And the IRS promulgated the regulation without any reasoned effort to reconcile it with the contrary provisions of the statute.
        I would love for one of our legal beagles here on dKos to take a look at this and tell me why I'm crazy to be concerned about these 2 cases.

        "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

        by annan on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 12:17:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The IRS might argue (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annan, True North

          that it is simply eliminating constitutionally unfair residential restrictions that a federal court would order removed if a person irrationally and unfairly denied subsidies sued the IRS.

          It would be like giving an estate tax refund prior to being told to do so after a DOMA court case ruling.

        •  Early days yet (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annan

          annan, those cases are in federal district court now. It will probably be months before a decision is reached. However they turn out, they'll be appealed to their respective Circuit Court. More time will pass. Then they'll be appealed to the Supreme Court.

          We're a few years away from a final decision. There will probably be a new president and a new health secretary in place by then. Heck, there might well be a new Obama appointee on the Supreme Court.

          One thing I'm pretty sure of: the subsidies for both state and federal exchanges will be in place for a few years before this ever gets settled in the courts.

          This provides one more reason to do all we can in 2014 and 2016.

    •  I'm a lay person (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annan

      The second petition seems well argued to me.

      I tend to think the first petition might have standing problems since subsidies are not really the Attorney General of Oklahoma's business in my opinion.

      As for employer penalties a Kansas employer might accidently hire a person properly getting federally subsidized coverage from say New York State after moving from say Albany so being located in a no-subsidy state is not a surefire way of avoiding employer mandate penalties.

      Also a Kansas-resident person born in say New York might buy federally subsidized insurance from say the New York exchange using a New York address of say a parent.

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