Court ruling could impact future of federal health care law

UPDATED: Tuesday, July 22. 2014 --- 4:59 p.m.

Two different decisions on one case. Will a part of the Affordable Care Act be changed on a technicality?

A part of the law says people can receive subsidies as a part of the state marketplace, but 36 states have opted out of creating their own market places, using the federal exchange instead. Now, that technicality has been challenged possibly meaning an up in premiums for 4 million Americans.

It's the literal reading.
"Eliminate the subsidies because it wasn't in the law," said Bobby Peterson with ABC for Health.

Verses reading between the lines.

"Come on, look at the intent, congress was. They didn't mean to exclude half the country," Peterson added.

A drafting error that could hit Wisconsin hard, since we're among the states that opted out of medicaid expansion, and creating our own marketplace.

"Wisconsin is one of the states that's probably most effected by this potential ruling," Peterson said.

Bobby Peterson is a public interest attorney at ABC for Health in Madison. He says tens of thousands in the badger state have been getting their healthcare subsidized, and if higher courts agree with the literal reading it could mean unaffordable healthcare for many Wisconsinites.

"The lower the income, the higher the subsidy."

But he says the decision wont be any time soon.

"Lets be clear, it's not in effect yet, they're going to appeal it, people aren't going to lose their subsidies right now."

Peterson says there are so many questions left to answer and with two differing federal court opinions today it shows just how complex the issue is.


Tuesday July 22, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal appeals court has delivered a serious setback to President Barack Obama's health care law, potentially derailing subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who have bought policies.

If upheld, the decision could mean premium increases for more than half of the 8 million Americans who purchased taxpayer-subsidized insurance under the law.

It affects consumers who purchased their coverage through the federal insurance marketplace -- or exchange-- that serves 36 states.

A three-judge panel in Washington ruled 2-1 that the law, as written, only allows insurance subsidies in states that have set up their own exchanges. That invalidated an Internal Revenue Service regulation that allowed subsidies in all 50 states.

Copyright Associated Press 2014

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