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Conflicting Court Rulings On Federal Health Care Subsidies

OPB | July 23, 2014 12:06 p.m. | Updated: July 23, 2014 1:37 p.m.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that health care subsidies may not be offered through the federal exchange. The ruling would affect 36 states that have not set up their own exchanges. Hours later, a Richmond appeals court issued a conflicting ruling, validating the Obama administration’s belief that the law does allow for federal subsidies. In response to OPB’s inquiries, Cover Oregon issues this response:

“A federal appeals court has ruled that the federal government cannot subsidize insurance premiums in states that did not establish their own marketplaces. Oregon established its own marketplace in 2011. Our understanding is that since Oregon’s health insurance exchange is designated as a state-based marketplace in 2014, and a supported state-based marketplace in 2015, this ruling does not affect Oregon.”

We’ll find out more from Aaron Patnode, the new executive director of Cover Oregon and Peter Graven, a health care economist at Oregon Health and Science University.

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