The State of Oklahoma won a victory in a case that could bring down Obamacare on Tuesday.
A U.S. District judge agreed the Federal Government paid out billions of dollars in illegal subsides as part of the Affordable Care Act. At the center of the case: once again that healthcare.gov website.
Oklahoma is one of 36 states that chose not to set up a state exchange, and instead about 55, 000 Oklahomans signed up for insurance on the National exchange; Oklahomans like Carol Manalo
“The premiums were cheaper than what I was paying,” said Carol earlier this year.
However, the exact wording in the Affordable Care Act says tax credits, those government subsidies that makes health insurance affordable, should be allowed for participants "which were enrolled in through an exchange established by the state.”
“When 34 states said ‘No,' the Federal Government knew they had a problem because the subsides and the penalties that go along with the Affordable Care Act could not be enforced. And so the Administration went to HHS, Health and Human Services, and the IRS and they tried to fix it through regulatory or executive fiat. And you cannot do that in our system,” argued Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
Pruitt, on behalf of the State of Oklahoma, was the first to file a lawsuit challenging the ACA on these grounds.
“Our checks and balances require that if the law needs to change it needs to go through the legislative process and not just through regulation after the fact,” said Pruitt.
The Federal Government has argued the term "state" refers to the national exchange as well as a state one.
In late July, a DC circuit judge also upheld the challenge in a similar case to the Oklahoma one, then hours later a US Court of Appeals ruled the exact opposite on another case, likely leaving the ultimate decision on the issue to the US Supreme Court.