U.S. Supreme Court Hearing Arguments On Affordable Care Act

Tuesday, March 3rd 2015, 6:48 pm
By: News 9

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a case that could have a dramatic impact on health care, not just in Oklahoma, but across the country. Depending on how the court rules, the Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare -- could essentially be gutted.

The case surrounds the question of whether it's legal for subsidies to be paid to the middle and low-income Americans who bought health insurance through the online federal exchange that was set up as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Many say the case comes down to the interpretation of a 4-word phrase in the law.

The plaintiffs say the law is clear that the subsidies can only go to those who purchase insurance through exchanges that are, "established by the state." They say this was an incentive to get states to set up their own insurance marketplaces.

The Obama Administration says, no, those words are being taken out of context and the intent was for subsidies to go to those who qualified, regardless of which exchange they used.

Oklahoma is one of the 37 states that opted not to set up a state exchange, and Attorney General Scott Pruitt says that decision needs to be respected.

“This is the federal government coming in and taxing, without authorization It's the president's approach to -- I've got a pen and I've got a phone, and I'm gonna make up the law after the fact,” said Pruitt.

Pruitt filed a similar suit against the government and won in U.S. District Court. He says he will be at the arguments on Wednesday, sitting at the plaintiff's counsel table.

Pruitt says, if the court rules for the plaintiffs, the controversial individual and employer mandates will no longer be enforceable in Oklahoma and the 36 other states that didn't set up exchanges.

It's also possible that the millions of people who signed up for health insurance in those states will no longer be covered. A decision should come in June.