Supreme Court Takes Up Yet Another Challenge to Obamacare


It looks like the Halbig challenge to Obamacare is a go:

The justices on Friday say they will decide whether the law authorizes subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people afford their health insurance premiums. A federal appeals court upheld Internal Revenue Service regulations that allow health-insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act for consumers in all 50 states. Opponents argue that most of the subsidies are illegal.

In case it’s slipped your mind, this is the case that hinges on whether a typo in one sentence of the Affordable Care Act should wipe out health care subsidies in every state that uses the federal exchange. If the challengers win, subsidies will be available only in states that run their own exchanges.

Given the facts of the case, I’d normally say the whole thing is laughable. The intent of the law is, and always has been, crystal clear. But the current Supreme Court really doesn’t seem to care much about laughable. If they want to cripple Obamacare, they’ll do it. The shoddiness of the argument doesn’t much matter to them.

So this is going to be a nail-biter. If it goes the wrong way, 6 million people or more will lose access to affordable health care—and half the country will cheer giddily about it. Because there’s just nothing more satisfying than denying decent health care to millions of your fellow citizens.

UPDATE: Although this challenge is the same as the one in Halbig, the actual case the Supreme Court agreed to hear is King v. Burwell. Sorry for the mistake.

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