At first, those of us who support Obamacare thought these claims were a joke. On July 22, the federal appellate court in Richmond, Va., rejected one such claim, but the same day, astonishingly, the federal appellate court for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled, 2 to 1, in favor of the plaintiff in a similar case, Halbig v. Burwell. Similar challenges are working their way through courts in two other circuits.
Last Thursday, the entire United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit put aside that 2-1 ruling, agreeing to hear the case “en banc” on Dec. 17. But now the opponents of Obamacare are asking the Supreme Court to immediately hear an appeal of the Richmond decision, and to pre-empt the full District of Columbia court from hearing the case.
The legal challenges say that a provision in the law that references the payment of credits to people who enroll through “an Exchange” that is “established by a State” means that credits are not available in the 36 states that have decided to have the federal government manage their exchanges for them.