Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, along with other top congressional GOPers, have urged a federal court to block Obamacare subsidies for people who signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov.
The group of eight — which includes Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, Sens. Orrin Hatch (UT), Mike Lee (UT) and Rob Portman (OH) along with Reps. Dave Camp (MI) and Darrell Issa (CA) — filed an amicus brief Thursday on behalf of businesses and individuals who sued to stop the subsidies from flowing through the federal website, the Washington Times reported.
The case, being heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit next month, centers on whether people can receive tax subsidies through the federal website, HealthCare.gov. More than 30 states rely on HealthCare.gov, while 14 plus Washington, D.C., set up their own websites.
The plaintiffs argue that the Affordable Care Act, if held to its exact wording, allows the federal government to provide subsidies to people only if they sign up through a state-run website. The Obama administration says that Congress clearly intended for people to receive subsidies no matter whether they enrolled through a federal or state website.
Cruz and company side with the plaintiffs.
“To judicially amend that provision now would change the terms of the deal, striking a new bargain that Congress did not and could not have struck,” they wrote, noting their “distinct perspective” as members of Congress — though none of them voted for the ACA.
A federal district judge rejected that argument in January, ruling that subsidies should continue to be delivered through HealthCare.gov, which sent the case to the appeals court.