Federal Appeals Court deals latest blow to Obamacare with Halbig v. Sebelius decision

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit handed down its long awaited decision in Halbig v. Sebelius, which involved a group of small business owners who argued Obamacare – as it was written – authorizes subsidies only for people who buy insurance through state-run exchanges, not the federal government. In a 2-1 decision, the court sided with the business owners.

The Associated Press reports:

In a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a group of small business owners argued that the law authorizes subsidies only for people who buy insurance through markets established by the states – not by the federal government.

A divided court agreed, in a 2-1 decision that could mean premium increases for more than half the 8 million Americans who have purchased taxpayer-subsidized coverage under the law. The ruling affects consumers who bought coverage in the 36 states served by the federal insurance marketplace, or exchange.

The majority opinion concluded that the law, as written, “unambiguously” restricts subsides to consumers in exchanges established by a state. That would invalidate an Internal Revenue Service regulation that tried to sort out confusing wording in the law by concluding that Congress intended for consumers in all 50 states to have subsidized coverage.

Needless to say, the Obama Administration is expected to appeal the ruling.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg is reporting a U.S. appeals court in Virginia reached the opposite decision. The Virginia court found subsidies to buy health insurance under Obamacare can be provided to people using the federal and state-run marketplaces.

It remains to be seen what will happen next as this debate will undoubtedly reach the Supreme Court. As President Obama’s own constitutional law professor, Laurence Tribe, recently said, the Affordable Care Act will likely not survive this host of legal challenges. On radio this morning, Glenn was optimistic about what this latest decision means for the future of the law.

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  • Anne Salwasser

    Why do you think the administration is upset by this? They were upset that so many states did not form their own exchanges so why would this make them unhappy? They just have to say oh well and then all the people who don’t get subsidies will force their states to create exchanges. Then they can say, “See, THE PEOPLE WANT THIS!!!.

    • Bill Gregory

      Ain’t gonna happen, Anne. This was a “panel” decision, which means an appeal will result in an “en banc” hearing. That will prob reverse this decision because 6 of the other 8 judges on that bench are Dems. That’s when this case will get interesting because the SCOTUS will have to decide whether to take it up…I pray they do and I pray they uphold today’s decision to make subsidies from any source but state exchanges illegal. That will certainly spell doom for the PPACA.

      • Anonymous

        Or, it will cause major issues in the states that have refused to create their own exchanges. Those folks who lose their subsidies will be spittin mad at the republican governors who refused to form the exchanges. The political ramifications of this could be a very bad thing for republicans. Mind you, I too wish the ACA was gone and replaced with market based policies that would lower costs.

        • Bill Gregory

          Good point, 5MMs. I believe the blowback that will occur when the employer mandate kicks in, after the Nov elections, will intensify the anti-PPACA sentiment. The Rep Party really needs a solid game plan with respect to disseminating this info, prior to the Nov elections. Thanks for the reply and have a good day.

        • Daniel Spickard

          It’s not the Governors faults that this is happening. This is the Democrats, and Obama’s fault all of this is happening. Had they not went and screwed up what we had, just about every American would be working thus having some sort of insurance. So the next time you want to blame some one for this bad economy, look at Obama,and his band of misfit Democrats who have single handedly screw up this country! He can’t blame this on Bush!

        • Anonymous

          There are only two things that would truly lower insurance costs —

          (1) fixing the malpractice mess that only makes trial lawyers rich

          (2) allowing REAL market choices, so people could buy BASIC medical coverage that isn’t forced to include drug & alcohol rehab, or feel-good psychiatric & counseling nonsense.

          • Anonymous

            I agree, smoke hill. “Health” insurance should actually be medical insurance. In other words, it covers serious medical situations. Everything else is up to the patient. This would cause competitive pricing since consumers could shop around and find affordable, better options. It would work like car and house insurance. Most of us don’t file claims for the small-to-moderate expenses…out of fear our premiums will go up. It places responsibility in our hands. It behooves us to keep tree limbs trimmed back from the roof, to not leave candles burning when we go shopping, to maintenance our vehicles properly. Medical insurance should operate the same way. I don’t want to pay for anyone’s birth control, psychiatric treatments, rehab, or even physical therapy. Insurance should kick in on the things that are huge. I’ve watched people use ERs like doctor offices…ridiculous!

          • Anonymous

            And a solution to using ER for an office visit?
            A local supermarket is setting aside space for a walk-in diagnosis center.

          • Anonymous

            One solution floated was enabling insurance to be sold across the states.

        • BA94TA

          My thinking on it is that people who saw the mass policy cancellations, as well as the rise in premium costs will turn their anger on the Obama administration and the ACA. The administration will no doubt try to spin this and say the states should have set up their own exchanges but, had the law been written properly, none of this would be happening. Also I think that’s what many Republican Governors will say in response to the administration as the Governors seem to have more of a backbone with these issues, at least they do here in Georgia.

      • Daniel Spickard

        It’ll never make it to the Supreme court. Come next January after the Republicans regain control of the senate, there are going to be impeachment proceedings started. After which this whole administration is going to be sitting down in GITMO, in Cuba. That’s if Obama doesn’t cut and run first!

        • Anonymous

          I almost fell off my chair just thinking of the day Obongo and his posse are gone. Sounds too good to be true. But I hope you’re right.

        • Anonymous

          And so says your Crystal Ball.

        • Ken

          I’m not as optimistic as you. Republicans have shown they don’t have the back-bone to do anything to stand up to Obama. Even if they pull off an impeachment, it will end up just like with Bill Clinton. Obama will finish out his term.

      • Anonymous

        Oh God you’re right. I forgot that 6 of the 8 judges are Democrats. But I still think we can win. How? By praying and asking God to not allow that to happen. I hope you believe in God. Please pray for this is the only way we can win.

    • Daniel Spickard

      No they won’t! What will happen is those who bought their insurance through the federal government will drop their policies, and the insurance companies won’t be able to handle the rest. They will fold as well. Obama care was never meant to work, Obama wanted the single payer system and knew the people of this country would never stand for it, so they cooked up Obama-care.

      • Anne Salwasser

        But they can’t just drop their policies. That’s illegal. And they can’t get new policies now, anyway, because the insurance companies arent selling them outside of the exchange enrollment period. Its part of what they agreed to when they supported Obama care. I realize Obama care was meant to destroy the insurance industry, but it was meant to bankrupt the states first.

  • Chas Jones

    I believe this will reach the Supreme Court and this ruling will be upheld 5-4, striking down the IRS regulation, ending subsidies in 36 states. Hopefully it will in time doom this obamanation once called law.

    I am already praying that Chief Justice Roberts writes the majority opinion striking this down … and that he steps down from the court once Obama is out of office.

    • Anonymous

      Only step down if there is an (R) as president then.

    • Anonymous

      If it does reach the S.C. there is no guarantees in life. Hope and pray but follow-up.

    • Ken

      Well, Roberts betrayed us with his decision that Obamacare was Constitutional because it was a tax. Why do you think his decision will be different this time?

      • B-Funk

        The Hobby Lobby case. Some feel that that ruling was his apology for that ruling. I’m with you, I’m very skeptical of him now.

  • Take 2

    Remember Rope a dope. Keep filling over and over till it stinks the highest Courts draw strings off.

  • You’reNoGandhi

    Everybody needs to write, call, email and show up outside the courts as this case makes its way up the the Supreme Court. Let’s not miss this second chance to defeat Obamacare. Everybody contribute something in support of this legal case. Everybody please write all of the Judges —-especially that traitor, Judge John Roberts— and let all of the judges know we want JUSTICE! Write your congressmen and senators and ask them to present themselves as friends of the court. Write the AMA and ask them to support the case against ObamaCare.

    Halbig v. Sebelius is our best chance to save what’s left of America’s healthcare system, America’s businesses and low-cost private insurance coverage.

    • Neil Van

      Well said! However, most people have no clue about what is going on, yet they vote.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, but the majority of voters is dumber than a box of rocks, and vote for the WRONG people.

        Some monkey from Chicago gets up and tells them that if they vote for him they’ll be farting through silk, and they believe him.

        Once some special-interest voters discover they can loot the Treasury, it’s all over for the honest, hard-working Americans who are supporting the degenerate lower classes.

        • Peggy Erler

          Your thoughtless language does nothing to solve the problem. It only gives fodder to the left. Support! Don’t undermine!

          • Anonymous

            Avoiding the truth isn’t helping anything, either.

            Most people are far too ignorant of issues, or even basic American history, to be allowed to vote. Giving 18-yr-olds the vote was one of the dumber ideas the Democrats had, but it assured them of increased votes, since kids that age can be talked into anything if you sell it to them on TV.

        • Dave Gustavson

          smokehill2, I’m very offended about the reference you made. obama is NOT from Chicago, that is merely the city he arrived in when he immigrated to what was formerly know as the U.S.A.

          • SRM29

            Oh poor you. Grow a thicker skin.

            Everyone with half a brain knows obama isn’t native to Chicago. Smoke obviously meant during his time as a senator.

      • Sniffachoo

        I’d vote for Obama too if I were an illiterate alien, who was given all sorts of goodies from the libs.

    • Kerry Flow

      Why didn’t this happen over the legalization of aborticide ? Things will never get better until we as a nation repent of that first .

  • http://www.bourgeoisviews.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

    This case only involves an appearant contradiction with obvious intent of the Congress passing the law. Another decision in the Fourth Circuit contradicts this decision, and the Supreme Court will decide in context with its previous decision.

    • Bill Gregory

      A poorly-written law; not completely thought out and/or reviewed by an entire Congress. I keep hearing the idiot Nancy Pelosi saying, “…but we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.” Ramming it through the vote is now coming back to haunt the Dems and unfortunately for them, the courts rule on the law, as written, not “intent.” I agree, BourgeoisViews, the SCOTUS will ultimately settle this issue.

      • http://www.bourgeoisviews.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        Actually, with as much debate as there was over as much time as there was, the Affordable Care Act was indeed carefully thought out. The Supreme Court did not seem upset by the way the law was written when it declared the Act Constitutional except for requiring the States to expand Medicaid. And it is a regular practice of the Supreme Court to determine intent of the legislature. It is by determining intent that the Supreme Court interprets the law. The rest of the law provides the intent that the Congress passing the Act had. If this one sentence is out of line with the rest of the Act, it is indeed this complete law that the Supreme Court considers, not just the one sentence in dispute.

        • Bill Gregory

          OK, let’s make a “gentlemen’s bet.” I say the SCOTUS will ultimately rule in favor of the as-written language of the law and not the intent. Deal?

          • http://www.bourgeoisviews.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

            I say the Supreme Court rules in favor of the rest of the law notwithstanding the mis-written sentence you depend on.

          • Bill Gregory

            OK, we have a bet. Back at you in a few months…or longer. Good debate; have a nice evening.

  • Daniel Spickard

    What is about to happen my friends is that almost everybody that bought insurance through the federal government are going to cancel their policies, and the health insurance industry is going to go bankrupt. This is what Obama wanted all along. He knew that the people of this country would never go for the single payer system. So they cooked up Obama-care so it would fail miserably and take the whole health insurance industry with it. Then the only thing left would be for the federal government to step in and cover the health care industry. We can’t let that happen. If this happens, you can see a large chunk of your pay check disappear to the federal government to which they will blow on everything under the sun as they have always done in the past. If you don’t mind waiting 6 months to see your doctor, then by all means just set on your hands and wait. But if you’re like me and want to stand up for those who can’t stand on their own. then call, write, e-mail, or what ever it takes to your congressman/woman, and your senator, and tell them to start impeachment proceedings not only against Obama, but his whole administration. By impeachment we can make him show all of his documents by court order. If he refuses, then we can demand his removal from office and null-n-void everything he ever signed while in that office. Including his signature health care law.

    • Bill Gregory

      Good post, Daniel. I agree totally with your views on impeachment and even that Obama and the Dems want a single-payer system. But I refuse to give these dolts enough credit to have hatched this PPACA scheme, knowing it would fail and result in a single-payer system. I believe they really wanted this system to work and when it ultimately fails, they will jump on the single-payer bandwagon. We’re on the same team…I just refuse to give them credit for doing anything smart enough to achieve their desired outcome. Have a good day, Daniel.

    • Anonymous

      Unfortunately, Daniel, none of those cowards in Congress are going to allow their legacy to be the Congress that impeached the “first black president”. Ironically, he is judged by his skin color by his fellow blacks. (Not a racist term, people, I’m white and he’s black.) Most black Americans can only see that he is black. They do not care that he is anti-American, shreds the Constitution and spends our money campaigning instead of leading. They don’t care about his crimes. It is such a shame! Thankfully, there are good black people rising up all over this nation and sounding the alarm. I find it ironic that we celebrate black history month every school year, but most blacks vote Democratic and have no idea that party created the KKK, fights to abort more black babies than any other ethnicity and works hard to keep black Americans ignorant and enslaved. Learn your history, people, or you are bound to repeat it.

  • Jayne Nielsen

    It looks as though the emperor’s crown is tarnishing quickly and the Liberal’s messiah is losing his appeal with Americans. Obama thought he was untouchable and unstoppable. Well, the Narcissist-in-Chief got another slap in the face. HA!

  • Anonymous

    Here’s some interesting info. I know several people who bought their Ins through the fed gov’t and called to cancel their policies, only to be told, “We will NOT cancel your policy UNTIL you show PROOF that you have another Ins Plan going into effect!

  • landofaahs

    I’m so glad the courts tossed a little crumb to the people who are being screwed over by obamacare. I know of some business people who with only a husband and a spouse are going to have to pay $3,000 a month for insurance. Of course the lying democrats will try to blame the price increase on the evil insurance companies. Isn’t it amazing that Government rakes in all the wealth of our country and that’s not considered greed, but if you want to keep what you have worked for, then that is being hateful and greedy? What you will see is expatriation on a massive scale once all hope of a sound currency is defeated. The wealth of this nation will disappear in the matter of mere months.

  • Anonymous

    Obama does not care— he does what he wants and the GOP hides from him

  • Joseph Hamilton

    Personally, I’m glad to hear this news. Population control
    has been around for quite some time now. One of the
    Pres’s biggest backers is Planned Parenthood. Keep in
    mind, this is not Planned Abortionhood.
    We’ve heard a lot about how the Social Security system
    will be out of money w/in 20yrs.. Let’s see. We can legally
    decide to, for almost any reason at all, decide life or
    death for our babies and unborn. What’s to stop us from,
    w/ some future law, have the same legal privileges in
    regards to our infirm and senior citizens?

  • Anonymous

    “a drafting error” if it is part of the law it is still the law. You cannot assume meanings in a law by saying they meant or I think. Do that in a real life and death criminal cae and you’ll hang. The Senate in the rush to pull the wool over our eyes then this is the senate’s fault. YOU can’t seek intent if it is a law written. The intent was for Obama’s IRS to control all of our lives from cradle to rave. Harry Reid whose own state ha over 50 people in limbo due to the magnificent way it was shoveled in our faces pay their bills still aren’t covered. that’s just Nevada.

  • Anonymous

    God is answering my prayers. I have asked him to please not allow Obama to keep destroying our country. First, I hear that Rick Perry will be sending 1,000 troops to the border. It may not be much, but at least it’s something and at least he has a pair. Now I hear that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a 2-1 decision, sided with business owners. Again something we can be glad about. But we need more help. I agree with writing, calling or e-mailing the court to tell them how we want justice against Obamacare. I don’t give a crap if Obama appeals the ruling. We can win and fight this disgusting demon.

  • Joey Walker

    lol after watching this i yelled yes about 10 times

  • amclarney

    All I see is that lots of people will have to come up with LOTS of money in a hurry to make up for ambiguous legislation and the IRS coming after people to pay back what was paid out. The bankrupting of America way to go Obama WHAT A CHANGE!

  • Stephen KIng

    Be careful. This decision could be used to force States to subsidize health insurance.

  • Anonymous

    You americans amaze me! Once you kill obama-care’s health bill – ummm what better scheme do you propose?

    • Falcon D. Stormvoice

      When someone is attempting to set your house on fire, you don’t need to provide an alternative before stopping them.

      Still, there are a ton of proposals that have been bandied about.

  • Cindy

    Thank you Thank you Thank you. I am praying about the demise of obama and I think it may have already happened. obama is a thug, liar and a total loser. This would be tremendous if the Supreme Court would knock him down again for trying to be a king. All Christians, please pray about it.

  • Organix

    While a majority’s opinion may tell us what some people desire on a particular occasion, it cannot tell us what those very same people would choose if they were more educated.

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