The Supreme Court has decided to take a case, ruling on another aspect of the legality of a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), whether it is legal for the federal government to provide subsidies for insurance coverage under the federal Marketplaces.  Though nearly every scholar has cast serious doubt on the logic of the case made by the plaintiffs, the Court has decided to take the case, likely because at least four Justices have certainly expressed their strong skepticism on the ACA.

The case is dubious on its merits, as the Fourth Circuit of the US Court of Appeals ruled, when it rejected the case in a case called King v. Burwell.  That Court concluded that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in the regulations it wrote to implement the subsidy provisions is a “permissible construction of the legislative language” because “the widely available tax credits are essential to fulfilling the Act’s primary goals and that Congress was aware of their importance when drafting the bill.” (p. 33, King v. Burwell)

Tellingly, and perhaps it is most revealing, the plaintiffs do not “dispute that the premium tax credits are an essential component of the Act’s viability,” since they “concede that Congress probably wanted to make subsidies available throughout the country.” (p.35)
  This seems to create a Catch-22 for the plaintiffs in the case in front of the Court, because by making their claim that they know that invalidating the premium subsides will gut the ACA, that perhaps inadvertently guts their case.  

In later blog posts I will demonstrate that there are other huge problems with the plaintiffs case in front of the Court, but this it ought to be obvious from just this point made by the 4th Circuit that there is no merit to this case.