On Friday, November 7, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear King v. Burwell, one of the cases about who is eligible for the tax subsidies in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These subsidies are a critical part of the legislation as they are designed to help make health insurance affordable. As we discussed in a prior post, at least two U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal have issued different interpretations on this language.
In King v. Burwell, the 4th Circuit ruled that the subsidies were available to participants in the Federal health exchanges. That same day, the D.C. Circuit held just the opposite in Halbig v. Burwell. In Halbig, the D.C. Circuit held that the tax subsidies were only available to participants in state-based exchanges. However, the D.C. Circuit agreed to sit en banc to reconsider the opinion. That case is currently scheduled to be heard in December. It should be noted that Halbig was not listed in the Supreme Court’s order granting cert. It is unknown at this time what, if any, impact the Supreme Court’s decision to grant cert will have on the Halbig case.