D.C. Appeals Court Cancels Oral Arguments in ACA Subsidies Case
The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Wednesday canceled oral arguments in Halbig v. Burwell, a case that challenges the legality of subsidies to U.S. residents who purchased coverage through the Affordable Care Act's federal insurance exchanges, the Wall Street Journal reports (Bravin, Wall Street Journal, 11/12).
On Friday, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear King v. Burwell, a similar case that also challenges subsidies in the federal exchange.
While the ACA states that the subsidies are available to help certain U.S. residents purchase health policies offered "through an exchange established by the state," a May 2012 Internal Revenue Service rule allows the subsidies to be used in an exchange administered either by a state or the federal government. Plaintiffs in both cases argue that the IRS rule should be invalidated because it contradicts what Congress originally wrote in the ACA (California Healthline, 11/10).
Details of Halbig Delay
The D.C. appeals court had been scheduled to hear oral arguments in Halbig on Dec. 17 (Howell, Washington Times, 11/12). The arguments were scheduled after the court in September granted a request by the Department of Justice for an en banc -- or full court -- review of a previous 2-1 ruling of a three-judge panel that declared the subsidies illegal (California Healthline, 11/4).
The D.C. appeals court on Friday said it would wait until after the Supreme Court rules on King, instructing parties in the lawsuit "to file motions to govern proceedings within 30 days of the date of the Supreme Court's decision" (Frank, Modern Healthcare, 11/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.