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The Newest Threat to the ACA: An Overview of the Halbig and King Decisions

On July 22, two different U.S Courts of Appeals issued conflicting opinions on whether an IRS rule, that holds that individuals purchasing private health insurance in both federal- and state-run exchanges are eligible for tax subsidies, is a valid interpretation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  At issue is language in the ACA that the plaintiffs’ argue limits such subsidies only to state-run exchanges. These rulings represent differing views on yet another challenge to the ACA.[i]

CHLPI has just published the article “The Newest Threat to the ACA: An Overview of the Halbig and King Decisions” which provides an overview of the Halbig v. Burwell and King v. Sebelius decisions and proposes next steps.

Read the article. 

[i] Since its enactment in 2010, there have been many challenges to the Affordable Care Act, including, most notably, NFIB v. Sebelius, in which the United States Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate but effectively made Medicaid expansion optional for states. More recently, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court found that closely held corporations (such as Hobby Lobby), may request an accommodation (based on religious objection) to the requirement that employer sponsored insurance plans provide coverage, without cost-sharing, of all methods of birth control approved by the FDA.  Employees of such businesses will have access to birth control, but it is presently unclear how such coverage will be provided, as the government has yet to respond to this issue since the decision was rendered (the government can either expand the existing program that provides for such coverage for employees of non-profit corporations or it can create an entirely new program).  Despite these rulings, the ACA continues to provide health coverage to millions of Americans, with over 8 million people newly enrolled in health coverage through marketplaces, with an additional 4.8 million in Medicaid.

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