Near the end of 2013, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) led a final crusade to defund the Affordable Care Act. Cruz did succeed in spurring Republicans into shutting down the federal government, but his effort was ultimately doomed. The American people’s elected representatives voted not to defund Obamacare, and the shutdown ended.
On Tuesday, Two Republican judges just ruled that Obamacare subsidies are not legal in 36 states. They made the decision based on the text of the law itself, which was composed with an error in it.
The law’s text states that federal subsidies can be given in states that start their own exchanges, but not in states that use the federal exchange. 36 states rely on the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov, and people in those states can no longer claim subsidies.
The ruling comes as a surprise, since lower courts had practically sneered at the lawsuit, which has no basis other than a drafting error in the law.
If the decision stands, millions of people will see their insurance premiums rise immensely.
The White House is likely to appeal to the full DC Circuit, which consists of mostly-Democratic judges who are likely to reverse today’s decision.
Later Tuesday, the 4th Circuit, upheld the Obamacare subsidies, conflicting with the DC Circuit court ruling.