The Supreme Court Rules on Obamacare: Tax Subsidies Can be Used to Purchase Health Care Insurance (King V. Burwell)

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Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a case challenging the provision of subsidies to purchase health care insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in at least 34 of the 50 states.

Under the “individual mandate” of the ACA, those who are not insured through their employer or through a government program such as Medicare or Medicaid must obtain insurance. This provision forces individuals and families, under threat of substantial tax penalties, to purchase health insurance from private insurers on the ACA exchanges.

The plaintiffs, four residents of Virginia, one of the states utilizing the federal exchange, argued that they do not want to buy health insurance. If not for the subsidies, they would qualify for an economic hardship exemption from the tax penalty for failing to obtain health insurance—thus they would be able to not purchase insurance and not have to pay a penalty.

At issue is a four-word phrase in the ACA legislation, which reads that subsidies are available to those buying insurance on exchanges “established by the State.” Only 13 states and the District of Columbia fully operate their own exchanges. The federal government controls 34, and three states that originally established exchanges later turned over enrollment to federal authorities.

The Supreme Court delivered a ruling on June 25, upholding the subsidies.

This Bloomberg BNA webinar is designed to discuss the practical impact of the decision on health insurance and the uninsured, the legal findings—areas of particular interest of interpretation, and what, if anything should the United States Congress and the states do as a result of the decision.

Educational Objectives:
• Discuss the practical impact of the decision on health insurance and the uninsured
• Explore the legal findings, including areas of particular interest of interpretation
• Examine what the United States Congress and the states can do as a result of the decision

Who would benefit most from attending this program? 
Health care providers, heath law practitioners and those interested in the Affordable Care Act.



Joel Ario, a managing director at Manatt Health Solutions, has 30 years of experience helping to shape and implement public policy, including two decades devoted to leading health insurance reform efforts at the state and federal government levels. He provides strategic consulting and policy analysis to assist state governments, health plans, hospitals, foundations, and other stakeholders in understanding and navigating the health reform landscape, with a particular emphasis on the role of public and private exchange-based marketplaces. Joel previously served as Director of the Office of Health Insurance Exchanges at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), where he worked closely with states and other stakeholders in leading HHS efforts to develop the regulatory framework for exchanges, including the rights and responsibilities of states and the federal government in expanding coverage, overseeing the insurance marketplace, and safeguarding consumer rights. 


Michael F. Cannon is the Cato Institute’s director of health policy studies. Cannon has been described as “an influential health-care wonk” (Washington Post), “ObamaCare’s single most relentless antagonist” (The New Republic), and “the man who could bring down ObamaCare” (Vox.com). He has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox News Channel, and NPR. His articles have been featured in the Wall Street Journal; the New York Times; USA Today; the Los Angeles Times; the New York Post; the Chicago Tribune; the Chicago Sun-Times; the San Francisco Chronicle; SCOTUSBlog; Huffington Post; Forum for Health Economics & Policy; Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine; Harvard Health Policy Review; the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics; and the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. Cannon is the coeditor of Replacing Obamacare: The Cato Institute on Health Care Reform and coauthor of Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It. 

Previously, he served as a domestic policy analyst for the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee, where he advised the Senate leadership on health, education, labor, welfare, and the Second Amendment. Michael holds a BA in American government from the University of Virginia, and an MA in economics and a JM in law and economics from George Mason University.


Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, J.D., is an emeritus professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law.  He is a coauthor of a casebook, Health Law, used widely throughout the United States in teaching health law and now in its seventh edition.  He is also the author of Health Care at Risk, A Critique of the Consumer-Driven Movement, Health Care Coverage Determinations:  An International Comparative Study, Readings in Comparative Health Law and Bioethics, and many articles and book chapters on health care regulation and comparative health law and policy.  He has written numerous monographs on legal issues in health care reform for national organizations and blogs regularly for Health Affairs, where he is a contributing editor, on regulatory issues.  He is a consumer representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and a member of the Institute of Medicine.


Robert N. Weiner is a Partner in the firm's Business Litigation practice group. He rejoined Arnold & Porter LLP in 2012, having served as Associate Deputy Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice since 2010. At DOJ, he oversaw the defense of the new healthcare law from the outset of litigation through the arguments at the Supreme Court, handled sensitive negotiations involving bank secrecy, and dealt with difficult issues as they arose in areas ranging from antitrust and financial reform to national security and Congressional investigations. Robert has substantial experience as a trial lawyer and appellate advocate in criminal and civil cases.  His experience includes serving as national coordinating and trial counsel in product liability and toxic tort cases; representing clients in media-intensive Congressional investigations and regulatory inquiries, as well as confidential, criminal, and disciplinary investigations; and representing the State of Israel in litigation involving national security policies. He is a member of the District of Columbia and New York bars.