King v. Burwell

King v. Burwell

In this latest Guide to the Issue, API recaps the argument presented in King v. Burwell¬†which the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on any day now. In this case, the Court will decide whether or not the issuance of health insurance subsidies through a national exchange was lawful under the ACA. The plaintiff’s challenge is based on the plain reading of the law that appears to limit the subsidies to policies purchased only through a state-run, not a federal, exchange.

When 36 states refused to set up an exchange, the IRS promulgated a rule allowing for subsidies to be issued through a federal exchange. Plaintiffs and otheramicus curiae claim that the IRS unilaterally disregarded the clear congressional intent and essentially rewrote the law in an act of brazen (and likely politically-driven) overreach.

An unfavorable ruling for the Obama Administration could mean the unraveling of the Affordable Care Act.¬†Even Justice Kennedy acknowledged as much in oral arguments, opining that to strike down the federal exchange would cause a “death spiral” for health insurance under the ACA.