• Health

Conflicting ruling on Obamacare -- federal subsidies in the balance

Source: John Cohen.

Today, two federal appeals courts issued separate rulings on Obamacare.

The first -- by a panel in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals -- ruled that the federal government isn’t authorized to extend insurance subsidies to people who applied for insurance through the federal insurance exchange at

With a total of $9 trillion subsidies projected over the next ten years, the ruling had the potential to gut the Affordable Care Act. Subsidies would only be handed out to insurees who lived in states with their own health exchanges.

Just hours later, adding to the political tumult, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia upheld the same provision overturned by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, declaring federal subsidies to be legal and proper.

So what happens next? The opposing rulings mean that the question will go through another round of proceedings, most likely be settled by the Supreme Court. (Here’s a full roundup of the possible outcomes).

The bottom line: Administration officials made clear that these rulings would have no impact on those currently receiving subsidies. But it could have a big impact on what Obamacare looks like in the future.

What do you make of these rulings?