Upcoming Supreme Court Decision About the Affordable Care Act: A Matter of Statutory Interpretation


The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision in the coming weeks about the Affordable Care Act in the case of King v. Burwell.  The stakes are high, because this decision could invalidate tax benefits for 4.2 million people who have purchased health insurance from federal health exchanges. The legal issue involves the meaning of four words in the ACA statute, which authorize tax benefits for individuals who purchase health insurance in exchanges “established by the State.” Specifically, the question is whether the ACA’s tax benefits apply to insurance purchased from federally-established exchanges in more than half of the states that did not establish their own exchanges. Should the Court base its decision on the plain meaning of the statute, or should the Court consider the legislative intent of Congress? For a more detailed discussion of this issue and the parties’ opposing positions from the SCOTUS Blog, see http://www.scotusblog.com/2015/02/scotus-for-law-students-interpreting-statutes/.

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