The U.S. Supreme Court stepped back into the ring in the ongoing challenge to the viability of the Affordable Care Act today, agreeing to review the availability of tax credits under its provisions.
The justices will review a decision out of the Fourth Circuit, King v. Burwell, holding that such subsidies are available to health insurance purchasers on both state exchanges and the federal exchange.
In North Carolina, which did not set up a state exchange, more than 350,000 residents purchased health insurance on the federal exchange — and more than 90 percent did so with the assistance of subsidies. Millions more across the country did the same.
Plaintiffs who brought the case contended that the language of the statute only authorized those credits for purchasers on state-run exchanges, but the Fourth Circuit unanimously rejected that position.
That ruling came just hours after a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Washington issued a contrary decision in a separate case pending there. Several weeks later, though, the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that panel and agreed to have the entire court consider the issue.
Rather than wait for a decision there, the justices today agreed to take the Fourth Circuit case up this term.
The Supreme Court’s order is here.