KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Pending Health Law Legal Action Threatens Premium Subsidies And Exchanges

One of the key questions, according to The Fiscal Times, is whether the premium subsidies available to people shopping on the federal exchange are legal.  

The Fiscal Times: Court Challenges To Subsidies Threaten Obamacare
Obamacare suffered a setback from the Supreme Court last week that may have seriously undermined the administration’s efforts to provide women with free access to FDA-approved birth control devices. The high court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that family-owned businesses could choose not to provide birth control to employees if it offended the owners’ religious beliefs. Now, a bigger and more fundamental problem may lie ahead for Obamacare. As early as this week, a D.C. appellate court could rule against the administration on the most basic question: Are the massive premium subsidies flowing to low-income people through the federal insurance exchanges legal, or should that money be cut off? (Pianin, 7/7).

The Associated Press: Judge To Mull Senator's Suit Over Health Exchanges
A federal judge will hear arguments this week on whether to toss a U.S. senator's lawsuit challenging rules that force congressional members and their staffs to obtain government-subsidized health insurance through small business exchanges. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin contends that senators, representatives and their employees aren't eligible for the exchanges under the federal health care law because they work for a government that employs millions. Government attorneys have asked U.S. District Judge William Griesbach to throw the case out of court. They argue Johnson hasn't shown how the rules hurt him or his staff (Richmond, 7/6).

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