Supreme Court to hear case against PPACA subsidies: 5 things to know

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a lawsuit challenging the legality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's tax subsidies for health insurance. Here are five things to know about the case and the upcoming trial.

1. The language of the PPACA states subsidies are provided through state-established exchanges. The lawsuit, King v. Burwell, challenges an IRS regulation that allows subsidies in all states. The original case was brought by four Virginia residents seeking to block subsidies in the 36 states that didn't establish their own exchanges.

2. That case's decision, issued earlier this summer by a three-judge panel from the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stated those who are eligible for subsidies through the PPACA can receive them, even if their state didn't establish an exchange. The plaintiffs appealed the decision, and the Supreme Court will now hear the case.

3. A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling earlier that same day stating subsidies may not be provided in states without state-established exchanges. The Obama administration successfully petitioned for a full-court rehearing of the case in August. The rehearing was set for December, but was canceled in mid-November, after the announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear the case at the highest level of the judiciary. The D.C. court will wait until the Supreme Court's ruling to rehear the case.

4. At least six states have said they don't want subsidies for their citizens, while 16 states stated they assumed subsidies would be available through the federal exchange or through state-federal partnership exchanges, according to a report from Businessweek.

5. If the Supreme Court declares the subsidies illegal, there could be widespread effects in the insurance markets and in the healthcare industry. Regardless of the decision the court makes, it is unlikely it will answer which states qualify as running their own exchanges, according to the report.

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