Supreme Court ‘Bitterly Divided’ Over Obamacare
The Supreme Court appeared sharply divided Wednesday as it began hearing arguments on the fate of Obamacare.
Justices seemed “bitterly divided” during “heated” arguments over the law, reported The New York Times. If they rule that the federal subsidies the Internal Revenue Service has doled out for Obamacare plans are illegal, millions of people would no longer be able to afford their plans, and the entire law would be crippled.
The four liberal justices indicated strong support for the Obama administration’s position, in opposition to the most conservative members of the court. Those four will likely have to win over either Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., who didn’t say much, or Justice Anthony Kennedy, who said he’s not comfortable with the administration’s position.
The law states that only people who buy Obamacare “though an Exchange established by the state,” are eligible for subsidies, but the IRS has subsidized plans for millions of people who purchased them through the federal exchange.
The law’s challengers argue that language effectively bars subsidies for plans bought through the federal exchange, but the Obama administration argues that the bill clearly intends for subsidies in all 50 states.
Kennedy indicated he doesn’t favor the administration’s argument, but also isn’t comfortable with the challengers’ argument. “Your argument raises a serious constitutional question,” he told Michael Carvin, who is representing the challengers against Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr.
House Republican chairmen Paul Ryan, John Kline and Fred Upton, who are leading a group of Republicans tasked with finding an Obamacare replacement, attended the arguments. “We are here today because the Obama administration forced a flawed and partisan law on the American people,” they said in a joint statement.
“Its implementation has been one problem after another, and today’s case underscores just how far beyond the law the administration has gone to prop up this fatally flawed plan. The law is clear — and the Supreme Court should order the IRS to enforce the law as it is written.” (RELATED: House Republicans Outline Obamacare ‘Off-Ramp’)
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