By Geoffrey Cowley
The last significant legal challenge to Obamacare suffered a setback today, when a Washington DC District Court rejected it. Plaintiffs backed by the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute are seeking to block health-care subsidies to low- and moderate-income consumers in 34 states where the federal government is either running or facilitating new health-insurance exchanges. They say the law restricts that support to states that operate exchanges on their own. But in a sweeping and closely argued ruling, Judge Paul L. Friedman thrashed that notion, saying that Congress “clearly intended to make premium tax credits available on both state-run and federally-facilitated exchanges.”
The dispute centers on a single phrase in the health care law. As written, it says the federal government will extend tax credits to qualified consumers who buy health coverage through insurance exchanges “established by the state.”
Represented by Michael Carvin, the lawyer who unsuccessfully challenged the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court in 2012, the plaintiffs claim that the phrase was no mere drafting glitch. According to their legal complaint, Congress intended to use the consumer subsidies as “carrots” to motivate the states to create their own insurance exchanges. “States rejecting the offer got a stick instead: the imposition of a federally-established, federally-operated exchange in the state, with no subsidies at all.”
By Geoffrey Cowley
Shopping for insurance on healthcare.gov isn’t yet as easy as booking a flight on Expedia, but a new survey suggests that consumers are warming up to the new online marketplace for health care. The findings, released Thursday by the Commonwealth Fund, show that insurance seekers had markedly better experiences in December than in October. Nearly 70% continued to give the health-care exchanges “fair” or “poor” ratings—a finding the Right may trumpet as a bitter defeat for Obamacare—but the finding is less dire as it sounds. Most potential enrollees said they still expected to buy insurance before open enrollment ends this spring, and young adults are showing as much interest as older ones.
|This is important:Since October 1st, more than 1.2 million Americans are poised to gain coverage under Obamacare — and more are picking plans every day.Now, the deadline is coming up to get coverage from the Marketplace in time for the new year. You have until December 23rd to select a plan in order for your health insurance to start by January 1st.|
By Igor Volsky
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has published a video featuring a 10-year-old child who last year passed away from brain cancer to attack Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and advance a pediatric research bill he’s co-sponsoring.
In the clip, Gabriella Miller quotes Reid’s objections from October to a Republican-backed measure, proposed during the 17-day government shutdown, that would have partially funded the National Institutes of Health but kept the rest of the government shutdown. Cantor posted the clip to promote The “Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act,” a measure that would eliminate $12.5 million in funding from party nominating conventions and authorize the money for pediatric research grants…