The congressional Democrats involved in writing the Affordable Care Act told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that they intended for consumers in all states to be eligible for subsidies, and they argue that the law they drafted reflects that intention.
Opponents have challenged the Obama administration’s enforcement of the law, arguing that it only allows subsidies to be paid in states that set up their own exchanges, but not to customers in most of the country who use the federal exchange.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and their colleagues disputed that in a new brief filed with the Supreme Court Wednesday, saying to leave out some states would defy the entire reason they passed Obamacare — “to make health insurance affordable for all Americans.”
The court case rests on language in the law that says subsidies will be paid to those in exchanges “established by the state.”
Mr. Obama’s opponents say that means the federal exchange, which covers the two-thirds of states that refused to set up their own exchanges, are not eligible. The opponents, pointing to comments from some Obamacare defenders, say Congress had intended to use the subsidies as a way to entice states to set up exchanges, rather than leave the job to federal officials.
But the Democratic lawmakers who wrote and passed the law called that argument “so weak” and say they never meant to draw that kind of distinction, saying the law grants subsidies to “applicable taxpayers” and defines them by income, not by geography.
Hey, I know — let’s ask an expert!
Jonathan Who? Never heard of him.