Update on Affordable Care Subsidies

Many of us have been concerned about the recent court rulings concerning health care.  We would like to share some insight from our friends at Families USA:

Court Ruling Withdrawing Affordable Care Act Premium Subsidies from Low- and Moderate-Income Families ‘Will Never Go Into Effect’ Court Ruling Likely to be ‘Stayed’; Rehearing by Full Appeals Court Probable and Likely to Reverse Decision; and 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Also Expected to Dismiss Lawsuit
[Last week], in a 2-1 split decision, a three-judge panel of the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that low- and moderate-income families, residing in 36 states with health insurance marketplaces run by the federal government, should be denied Affordable Care Act tax-credit premium subsidies. The following is the statement of Ron Pollack, Executive Director of the consumer health organization Families USA, about today’s court decision:

“It is most likely that today’s split decision, which would take away premium subsidies for almost five million low- and moderate-income people, will never go into effect.

“It will inevitably be placed on hold pending further proceedings; will probably be reheard by all of the 11-member active D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals members, who predictably will reverse it; and runs contrary to an expected ruling on a similar case in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Today’s decision represents the high-water mark for Affordable Care Act opponents, but the water will recede very quickly.

“The likelihood that today’s decision will not be implemented does not obscure the harm it could cause. It would eliminate help fot almost five million low- and moderate-income people who currently receive subsidies so they can afford health insurance. Millions of other low-income families, who are also entitled to such assistance but have not yet received it, would also be denied help.

“It is ironic that the law’s opponents are invoking the very statute they are trying to destroy for the proposition that Congress intended to withhold premium subsidies for families in states with federally run health care marketplaces. That proposition clearly contradicts congressional intent.

“The chairmen of the committees that crafted the legislation (Senators Baucus and Harkin, and Representatives Waxman, Levin, and Miller) made this clear in a court brief they submitted, saying that this  ‘assertion is inconsistent with the text and history of the statute, and with its fundamental purpose – to make health insurance affordable for all Americans, wherever they reside.’

“We expect that future court decisions will look at the entire statute, and clear congressional intent behind it, and dismiss this desperate attempt to destroy the Affordable Care Act.”

Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan, and its mission is to secure high-quality, affordable health coverage and care for all Americans.

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