Dueling Courts Gut, Uphold ObamaCare Subsidies

One appeals court issues 'crippling blow' as another helps it hours later
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 22, 2014 9:55 AM CDT
Updated Jul 22, 2014 12:16 PM CDT

(Newser) – It's a seesaw day for ObamaCare: One federal appeals court delivered what was seen as potentially devastating news to the health care law today, but hours later a second appeals court came to the opposite conclusion. Both decisions revolve around subsidies for people who signed up for ObamaCare on the federal exchange, as opposed to a state exchange. This morning, a three-judge panel in DC ruled that the federal enrollees aren't eligible for subsidies, which the Washington Post called a "potentially crippling blow" to ObamaCare. Without those subsidies, millions of low- and middle-income people who signed up would likely be unable to afford their premiums.

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Later, however, a three-judge panel from a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled in a separate case that subsidies for those on the federal exchange are fine, reports CNN. Or, more specifically, it said that the law's language was murky and thus deferred to the IRS on the matter, reports Reuters. The IRS has previously said that the subsidies can go to people no matter whether they signed up on a federal or state exchange. Expect both decisions to be appealed, with no final resolution likely until the Supreme Court weighs in. (Read more ObamaCare stories.)

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