In July, two U.S. courts issued conflicting rulings regarding the availability of subsides to help purchase coverage under the current health care law. In a 2-1 vote, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit made the decision in Halbig v. Burwell to defund a majority of the Affordable Care Act. Meaning, they interpreted the law to mean subsidy assistance is only available for states that operate their own health insurance exchange. Ohio is one of the 36 states whose health exchange is federally operated.
On the other side of the argument, three judges for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia unanimously ruled in favor of subsidies to be available for folks in every state, regardless how the state runs their health insurance exchange.
On August 4, COSE explained how these decisions impact small business: U.S. Courts Issue Conflicting Health Care Rulings: What’s Next?
However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has since retracted their decision and now this case will be reheard by the full court in December.
So what does this mean? It means July’s decision to defund the Affordable Care Act is no longer valid. Based on the politics of the D.C. Circuit, it was decided to take back their ruling of defunding the Affordable Care Act. Therefore, action by the U.S. Supreme Court on the question of exchange subsidies is unlikely and subsides remain available to help purchase health coverage.
COSE will continue to provide more information as it becomes available, and if you have any health care-related questions or concerns, please call 216.592.2228.