Opening Shots Fired in Obamacare Supreme Court Battle

Federal lawmakers staked out partisan positions on the eve of Obamacare’s second major showdown before the Supreme Court, with Democrats urging the justices not to create chaos in more than 30 states, while Republicans mapped out an escape route from the contentious health overhaul.

The justices will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that considers whether Congress meant to offer critical Obamacare subsidies to states that use the federally run health exchange, a fallback option for states that declined to set up their own insurance portals.

Plaintiffs say Congress limited the subsidies to exchange “established by the state,” or exchanges set up by 16 states and the District of Columbia, while the administration says it never meant to treat states differently.

Senate Democrats called the lawsuit “frivolous” Tuesday, arguing Congress would not have used the Affordable Care Act of 2010 to set up coverage standards for each state and then restrict the subsidies that underpin those measures.