Health Law

Full DC Circuit to reconsider decision that undermined the health-care law

A federal appeals court will reconsider a decision that undermined the Obama administration’s health-care law by banning tax credits to people in states that didn’t set up their own insurance exchanges.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted a rehearing en banc today in the case, Halbig v. Burwell, report the Chicago Sun-Times, USA Today, the National Law Journal and the Volokh Conspiracy.

The 2-1 decision in July by the D.C. Circuit panel held that low-income residents who buy insurance through federal rather than state exchanges aren’t eligible for tax credits. The decision was based on language of the law that limits tax credits to those who purchase insurance through exchanges “established by the state.”

The dissenting judge said the structure of the health-care law will crumble absent tax subsidies in the 36 states with federal exchanges.

The July opinion had created a circuit split. “Now, however, the D.C. appeals court may issue a clean bill of health for Obamacare,” USA Today says, “making high court review less likely.”

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