Obamacare Opponents Lose Lawsuit over Subsidy Rules

Law was written to only apply to state-run exchanges but judge says it applies to all


A federal judge on Wednesday emphatically rejected a last-ditch challenge to President Obama's healthcare law, ruling that the Affordable Care Act allows low-income Americans to get government subsidies to buy health coverage no matter what state they live in.

Critics of the law argued that the statute, passed by Congress in 2010, limited these subsidies to consumers in states that operate their own insurance marketplaces.

Only 14 states do that; the remaining 36 rely on the federal government to run their marketplaces, or "exchanges."

The marketplaces, which opened Oct. 1 for 2014 coverage, are designed to allow Americans who do not get coverage through an employer to shop among plans that must meet new basic standards. Consumers who make less than four times the federal poverty level—or about $94,000 for a family of four—qualify for tax credits to offset the costs of their premiums.