Plaintiffs case involves the wording does not include some 7.5 million people in 34 states who get their insurance through federal exchanges, after their states declined to run exchanges of their own.
Millions of people would lose the subsidies needed to help pay for private health insurance if the court decides for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. During the hearing, the justices appeared sharply divided during Wednesday’s arguments, and a decision is expected by June of this year.
The US Internal Revenue Service is charged with implementing the law and interprets the subsidies as being available for all eligible individuals in the health exchanges nationwide, in both exchanges set up by the states and the federal government. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. defended the position of the administration. He ridiculed the challengers argument saying it "revokes the promise of affordable care for millions of Americans -- that cannot be the statute that Congress intended,” reported by CNN. The court’s four liberal members voiced strong support for the administration’s position. But the administration must almost certainly capture the vote of either Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. or Justice Anthony M. Kennedy to prevail.
Chief Justice Roberts did not say very much that would indicate which way he was leaning.
Justice Kennedy asked questions suggesting that he was uncomfortable with the administration’s reading of the statute. But he added that the challengers’ reading posed problems, too.
“Your argument raises a serious constitutional question,” he told their lawyer, according to the New York Times.
Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. argued for the Obama administration, facing Michael A. Carvin, who represented the plaintiffs in another challenge to the law that reached the Supreme Court in 2012.
The argument, which lasted 80 minutes rather than the usual hour, started with a presentation from Mr. Carvin that was tied closely to the text of the law.
“This is a straightforward question of statutory interpretation,” he said
If the Court rules against the Affordable Care Act, millions of individuals will no longer be eligible for the subsidies. The fate of the law could rest—again-- on Chief Justice John Roberts -- who surprised many in 2012 when he voted to uphold the law -- he said next to nothing on Wednesday so not to indicate which way he was leaning toward.
Americans will have to wait for the US Supreme Court decision which will be made public in May or June. At this point there are no preparations in place if the administration loses. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell warned that if the government loses it has prepared no back up plan to "undo the massive damage."
is retired and lives in Clearlake, California. She has three grown
children and one grandson and a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services
Administration from St. Mary’s College in Moraga California. On the
home front Dava enjoys time with her family, reading, gardening, cooking