More Lawsuits that Could Further Undermine Obamacare

COMMENTARY | One of the major features of Obamacare is the subsidy system for health insurance policies bought under the exchanges. However a quirk in the law is leading to lawsuits that might bring the law crashing down, according to the New York Daily News.

The law spells out that the subsidies can be granted by an exchange established by a state. However, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling, the states are not obligated to establish an exchange. 36 states have chosen to decline, meaning that the federal government has been forced to establish and run exchanges in those states. Under a strict reading of the law, a federally run exchange cannot offer subsidies that would make the health insurance policies slightly less expensive than they would ordinarily be. Three lawsuits are working their way through the courts that would strike down federal subsidies on that basis.

A fourth lawsuit revolves around the idea that the penalties for failing to comply with the employer mandate, which has been called a “tax” by the Supreme Court, should not apply to state agencies since it is illegal for the federal government to levy a tax on a state government.

Of course no one knows what the Supreme Court, which will ultimately rule on these and other Obamacare cases, will do. The decision that called the Obamacare mandates a “tax” is widely seen as an exercise in legal gymnastics that does violence to the Constitution in order to preserve a bad law. Almost a year and a half later, the Obamacare law has turned out to be worse than most people have imagined, with the buggy signup website and the horrible health insurance policies available on the exchanges, when they can be accessed at all. Perhaps the current lawsuits will allow the Supreme Court to revisit its mistake and rectify, outing Obamacare on the ash heap of history.

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