Post Hobby Lobby, Halbig v. Burwell may undermine the ACA’s tax credits

Jeremy Quittner, INC Magazine:

Post-Hobby Lobby, more than 100 outstanding legal challenges lodged by businesses and non-profits continue to question the health care law’s validity based on religious objections to its contraceptive requirements. And these suits have been given new life after the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision at the end of June, which essentially ruled in their favor.

But in the next few days, a federal appeals court for the D.C. circuit is expected to rule on a little-watched case that could destroy the underpinnings of the health bill. The case, known as Halbig v. Burwell, wants to declare the ACA unconstitutional based on wording within the Internal Revenue Code on how tax credits are to be meted out for people who purchase health care on state or federally run exchanges.

The argument goes something like this: The IRS has authorized tax credits to people who purchase insurance on either a state-run or federally-run health-care exchange. Opponents of the act say, however, that it authorizes subsidies only for people who buy policies through state-run exchanges. By authorizing tax credits to those who purchase on federal exchanges, the plaintiffs say, the agency has exceeded its authority.

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