The Long Twilight Struggle to Take Away Your Health Care Coverage

February 7, 2014 2:07 p.m.

You know that many states didn’t set up their own Affordable Care Act exchanges. Many of the same states refused to accept Medicaid expansion, despite the fact that participating states will only have to pay a tiny percentage of the cost. Now there’s this: If you live in a red state and need to use the federal exchange and are eligible for a subsidy, now a growing number of conservatives wants to prevent you from getting that subsidy.

Just because … well, just because apparently it’s really, really important that you not get access to health care insurance. Sens. Cruz, Rubio, Lee and others have signed an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit which is trying to block these subsidies and then there’s this email I got last night from TPM Reader JW who notes State AGs who are also on board …

Josh – I know that you and TPM have been following the lawsuits brought to challenge the ability for individuals in states where there is only a federal exchange and no state exchange (i.e. bright red states) to get federal tax credit subsidies to purchase health insurance. Indeed, TPM recently wrote about the federal court in D.C. dismissing one such challenge.

However, I thought it was worth pointing out to you that the plaintiffs have appealed the dismissal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (case no. 14-5018), and, notably, a number of states have filed amicus curiae briefs in favor of the plaintiffs – Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia. (see docket entry below and attached brief). But here’s what’s notable – these states have set up no state exchanges, so the lawsuit is really about whether the citizens of these states can receive federal tax credits to purchase insurance under the federal exchange, at no cost to the state. This isn’t like the Medicaid expansion aspect of the ACA where the states would still have to pay something, even though feds would pick up most of the cost. This is about federal tax credits for the citizens of these states at no cost to the states. In sum, these state attorney generals are so blind with hatred to “Obamacare” and the Affordable Care Act, that they are actually suing to prevent these citizens of their states from being able to obtain health care insurance, since these individuals almost certainly would not be able to purchase it on the exchanges without the federal tax credits. Seems like it might be worth asking these attorney generals why they want to take health care away from the citizens they are supposed to be representing and causing them to incur greater costs (not to mention greater taxes). Sound like a job for TPM?

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