Appeals Courts Duel on Obamacare Money

It’s been a confusing day for Obamacare. A major pillar of the health-care law crumbled under the gavel of one federal appeals court on Tuesday, while a separate panel affirmed the legality of its billions of dollars in government subsidies. The three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down premium subsidies used by 36 states, ruling that the Affordable Care Act doesn’t allow the IRS to dole out the subsidies in federal insurance exchanges, and that customers must pay out of pocket for the full insurance cost. The ruling is the result of a wording glitch in the ACA—as written, it says subsidies should be paid to those who purchase through an “exchange established by the state.” This restricts premium tax credits to state-run exchanges. Hours later, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia upheld the subsidies saying the plaintiffs’ reading “bespeaks a deeply flawed effort to squeeze the proverbial elephant into the provebrial mousehole.”