A federal judge tossed out a lawsuit today that sought to cripple Obamacare.
The suit — a challenge to the law’s insurance subsidies — was a long shot but had the potential to devastate the health care law if it succeeded. It would have blocked the law’s insurance subsidies — the main incentive for people to buy insurance — in 36 states.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the subsidies, which help low-income consumers cover their premiums, should be available in all 50 states. He dismissed a lawsuit, filed by a group of individuals and businesses, that sought to block subsidies in any state that didn’t operate its own insurance exchange,
“The plain text of the statute, the statutory structure, and the statutory purpose make clear that Congress intended to make premium tax credits available on both state-run and federally facilitated Exchanges,” Judge Paul Friedman wrote.
Challengers argued that Congress intended for tax subsidies to flow only through state-run exchanges, because it wanted to encourage states to set up their own marketplaces. The Justice Department argued that the overall goal of the Affordable Care Act was to expand coverage in all 50 states, and that federal exchanges were designed to stand in for state-run marketplaces.
Friedman agreed with the Justice Department, saying the challengers’ argument does not “make intuitive sense,” and that “there is no evidence in the legislative record that the House, the Senate, any relevant committee of either House, or any legislator ever entertained this idea.”
What We're Following See More »
Along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to tighten privacy standards for Internet service providers. "The regulations will require providers to receive explicit customer consent before using an individual’s web browsing or app usage history for marketing purposes. The broadband industry fought to keep that obligation out of the rules."
President Obama commuted the sentences of another 98 drug offenders on Thursday. Most of the convicts were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs or possession with intent to distribute. Many of the sentences were commuted to expire next year, but some will run longer. Others are required to enroll in residential drug treatment as a condition of their release.
The Department of Justice announced today it's charged "61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities."