With just a few days to go before the start of the second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Supreme Court has agreed to hear both sides in the King v. Burwell lawsuit, which aims to strike down health care subsidies in the 36 states that chose not to establish insurance exchanges.
At question is language in the original reform bill that says tax credits would be available for qualifying residents in states that operated their own exchange, or health insurance marketplace. Despite the plain language, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidelines saying that tsuch subsidies are available across the board, both in states with their own exchanges and in states where the federal government operates the marketplace (HealthCare.gov).
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit sided with the IRS, but the high court has agreed to settle the issue. To do so means that at least four justices agreed to review the case, which further means that at least four justices don’t agree with the IRS’s ruling. There would be no reason for a review if the four (or more) justices agreed with the Fourth Circuit’s decision.
Most major Supreme Court decisions are not released until the end of the session, generally in late June, so expect a ruling next summer.