King v. Burwell June 25, 2015

By Lance Vanzant

Today in King v. Burwell the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that tax credits provided under the Patient Protection and  Affordable Care Act are allowed for health insurance purchased on any exchange created under the Act.  The Petitioners challenged the giving of tax credits on those exchanges created by the federal government.  The Act provides that the amount of the tax credit a taxpayer receives depends in part on whether the taxpayer has enrolled in an insurance plan through “an exchange established by the State under Section 1311 of the Act.”   The petitioners were four individuals living in Virginia, which has a federal exchange. They claimed Virginian’s exchange was not “established by the  State,” therefore they should not be eligible for tax credits.  The Court rejected this argument.  Writing for the  majority, Chief Justice Roberts stated that the phrase “exchange established by the State” is ambiguous and when taking into account the complicated structure of the Obamacare law could be read to refer to “all Exchanges.”

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