The Supreme Court announced plans on Friday to hear a case that challenges the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court justices said that they will determine the legality of government subsidies, which are currently assisting millions of middle- and low-income Americans to pay for their health insurance bills.
So far, the federal appeals court has maintained the legality of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) codes that allow for tax credits related to health insurance. However, opponents to the Affordable Care Act say that the federal health insurance subsidies are unlawful.
Not the First Appeal Regarding the Affordable Care Act
This is not the first time that the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was challenged in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court justices upheld the law in a neck-and-neck decision in 2012. There, Chief Justice John Roberts made the deciding vote.
In the current appeal, opponents of the Affordable Care Act argue that the Supreme Court needs to act immediately to decide on the matter because billions in federal money is at stake. At least four justices are required to grant the decision to review the case, so it appears that some justices are at least open to the opposition's interpretation of the law.
Are Federal Health Care Subsidies Illegal?
So far, a Richmond-based court of appeals upheld the legality of the tax credits for all 50 states last July. However, on the same day, an appellate court panel in Washington, D.C., struck down the IRS regulations that allow for the tax credits in all states. The appeals court in Washington said that the federal aid can only be given in states where a state-run insurance exchange, or marketplace, has been created.
Later, in October, the same Washington, D.C., appeals court decided to rehear the case and nullified its previous ruling. That decision resolved the incongruous rulings made by the circuit courts, for now. All that could change, though, given the Supreme Court's recent decision to hear this latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act. The result of this Supreme Court case could have dramatic consequences for Americans who are currently relying on federal health care insurance subsidies to pay their medical insurance bills.
The laws governing insurance can be complex and difficult to navigate for the average individual who is not familiar with insurance law. If you have any questions about your health insurance and the benefits you are entitled to, contact an insurance law attorney for more information.
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