The Next Big ObamaCare Brouhaha: Subsidies

'Drafting error' could mean no subsidies for federal insurance exchanges
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2012 1:16 PM CDT
President Barack Obama speaking during a bill-signing ceremony July 6, 2012, in the White House in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Just because the Supreme Court said that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional, don't expect the legal challenges to President Obama's health care law to dissipate anytime soon, reports the New York Times. One of the next big battles is brewing over who will get access to subsidies to buy insurance as required by 2014: At stake is whether the law allows anyone to get those subsidies—regardless of whether they buy insurance from state or federal insurance exchanges—or if subsidies are only for people using state insurance exchanges.

The White House of course says that federal exchanges qualify, too. But as subsidies are linked explicitly in the law to "an exchange established by the state," even some supporters say that the language used was "a drafting mistake." The debate isn't just academic: The federal government could be running insurance exchanges in up to half of the states, with as many as 18 million currently uninsured people qualifying for subsidies. Experts say the law will almost certainly be challenged, most likely by employers who get penalized for having uninsured workers.

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