May. 11, 2015

King v Burwell ; a statutory insurance intent of the federal government

The are many who are not still certain what the expected ruling from the supreme court of the USA will be in the case " King v Burwell " in which the plaintiff challenges the legal authority of the federal government to provide insurance subsidies in states which have failed to set up thiers .

  The case has nothing to do with the constitutionality of the affordabel care act , popularly callled "OBAMA CARE". The constitionality had been resolved in a previous supreme court case with a 5-4 ruling in favor of the law .

   The present King v Burwell is a statutory case in which the judges are called upon to interpret the law as to the question of the legality of the federal governemnt providing insurance subsidies in states which have not set up insurance exchanges for their residents .

   The affordable care act states that" subsidies  are offered to those  enrolled through an exchange established by the state".

  A litteral interpretation will therefore break down the defense of the federal governement as having authority to offer subsidies in those states which have not set up the state exhanges .

 The goverenment claims are on the "INTENT of the law " which should not be found in a single written statement but in the totality of the law which runs into hundreds and hundreds of pages of written materials .

 The government was clear from the outset what it intended to do with the health reform.

  Mainly to increase coverage through mandates and subsidies to create an enviroment where economies of large scale would also benefit the insurance companies to accept broader coverage terms like increasing the age of the young people to 26years to be able to be on the insurance benefits of their parents besides preexisting conditions  and other requests .

The opponents of the government say , the is no language in the law that gives the federal goverment the authority to provide subsideis in states which do not have the exchanges .

The judges may interpret the law one way or the other in their ruling expected in the coming weeks .

 Should they rule in favour of plaintiff , then millions of Americans who got their insurance , partly through the federal governement exchanges will loose it and it will create a problem to the market as premiums will also have to go up to take care of the losses . 

  The courts may trike down the IRS involvement as overeaching it,s autority and the will be a constitutional affoardable care act in place without the subsidies for those in states which refused to established the exchanges .

  The intent of the federal governement is clear though it may not have been clearly stated in white and black .

  The are ways to go about this should the judges rule in favour of plaintiff .

  1  Ask the US congress to introduce such language where it may be neccesasry in order not to deprive certain people of the subsidies while others keep theirs since the law will remain constitutional .

  2  Negociate in congress, to have certain parts of the law changed so all  can aggree to i nputs from the republican party .

  While politics and politicians are waiting for their opportunity , justice must be seen to have been done at the end of the day . For the Intent of the law was expressed in the manifestoes and public positions of the defenders , hopefully the supreme court will be on the side of the law and the people by ruling for the" intent of the law "

 

     By DR AKWO , THOMPSON NTUBA