While the Supreme Court may be split, the media is not. Check out this ridiculous tweet sent out by NBC writer John Harwood.
ACA Author Jonathan Gruber begs to differ….
WASHINGTON DC – The Supreme Court appeared divided Wednesday along ideological lines after hearing a challenge of ObamaCare tax subsidies that, if struck down, could affect up to 8 million policy holders.
The liberal justices peppered Michael Carvin, the lawyer for the health law challengers, with skeptical questions almost from the outset over his argument to limit the subsidies.
When Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. — who represents the Obama administration — stepped to the lectern, the liberal justices fell silent, and Justices Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia took over.
But Chief Justice John Roberts, who was the deciding factor in the last major ObamaCare case in 2012, said almost nothing in nearly 90 minutes of back-and-forth. And the questions posed by Justice Anthony Kennedy, often a key swing vote on the bench, did not make clear how he will come out. During the hearing, Kennedy posed tough questions to both sides.
The justices met Wednesday to determine whether the law makes people in all 50 states eligible for federal tax subsidies — or just those who live in states that created their own health insurance marketplaces. This question matters because roughly three dozen states opted against their own marketplace, or exchange, and instead rely on the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Healthcare.gov. If the court rules against the Obama administration, insurance subsidies for people in those states would be in jeopardy.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the law set up flexibility for states to either set up their own markets or rely on the federal Healthcare.gov. Giving subsidies only to people in some states would be “disastrous,” Ginsburg said.
Scalia later challenged Verrilli.
“It may not be the statute Congress intended, but it may be the statute Congress wrote,” Scalia said of the provision in question. The case focuses on four words in the law, “established by the state.” The challengers say those words are clear and conclusive evidence that Congress wanted to limit subsidies to those consumers who get their insurance through a marketplace, or exchange, that was established by a state. (read more)