Obama administration attorneys asked a federal court Friday to re-do its recent decision that ruled that Obamacare subsidies for customers in federally-run exchanges are illegal.
The District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that the phrase “established by a state,” repeated through the text of the Affordable Care Act, does in fact mean that Obamacare’s premium subsidies can only go to the 14 states that established their own state exchanges — a potentially devastating reality for the millions of Americans who purchased health coverage on HealthCare.gov with the promise that they’d receive help.
The Obama administration is asking the entire D.C. circuit to review the case again en banc, with all non-senior judges on the court issuing a decision. The administration expects that the entire panel, which includes seven judges appointed by Democrats, will be friendlier to its argument that Congress intended the subsidies to go to customers in every state.
The case is complicated by another appeals court’s ruling, however. The fourth circuit court of appeals ruled the same day in King v. Burwell, a similar case, that the subsidies were intended to go to every state, no matter who’s running the exchange.