Halbig, King, and ObamaCare: What Happened, and What Happens Next?

Capitol Hill Briefing
August 12, 2014 12:00PM
B-354 Rayburn House Office Building
Featuring Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute; and Jonathan H. Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law; Director, Center for Business Law and Regulation, Case Western Reserve University School of Law; moderated by John Maniscalco, Director of Congressional Affairs, Cato Institute.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says its exchange subsidies, employer-mandate tax, and (to a large extent) its individual-mandate tax may be implemented only “through an Exchange established by the State.” Since January, however, the IRS has been implementing those provisions (save the delay of the employer mandate) in the 36 states with exchanges established by the federal government. Four lawsuits have been filed so far challenging the IRS’s actions. On July 22, the D.C. Circuit ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that the IRS has no such authority — in essence, that the Obama administration is violating the law by taxing, borrowing, and spending tens of billions of dollars to encourage people to enroll in ObamaCare. On the same day, the Fourth Circuit issued a conflicting ruling in King v. Burwell, which the plaintiffs have appealed to the Supreme Court. Two scholars who laid the groundwork for these lawsuits will explain what the two courts said, what happens next, and what Halbig and King mean for the nation.