Apples From Applesauce? Implications of the Supreme Court's Ruling on Obamacare

by JD Supra Perspectives

One wonders whether there will ever be another Supreme Court opinion that uses the word “Applesauce” as a sentence. - Robert Projansky, Proskauer

We asked attorneys writing on JD Supra to provide their First Glance perspectives on the U.S. Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell decision, seen by many as a decisive victory for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Here is what we heard back:

A future administration could have a very difficult time issuing different premium tax credit regulations...

Tom Christina, a shareholder in the Employee Benefits Practice Group of Ogletree Deakins: “The primary significance of the decision is that it interprets the statute to provide for premium assistance tax credits in every state where HHS has established an Exchange, rather than merely upholding the IRS regulation that permits the allowance of premium assistance tax credits in states where HHS’s Exchange operates. That means that a future administration could have a very difficult time issuing different premium tax credit regulations.”

If a large employer was holding out hope that this decision would signal the early demise of the Pay or Play penalty, measurement periods, and Forms 1095 and 1096 versions A, B, and C, it’s time to get caught up...

Katelyn Winslow, associate in the Atlanta office of law firm FordHarrison: “The Supreme Court’s decision today in King v Burwell is a major victory for proponents of the ACA—the statute and its resulting compliance requirements are here to stay. So if a large employer was holding out hope that this decision would signal the early demise of the Pay or Play penalty, measurement periods, and Forms 1095 and 1096 versions A, B, and C, it’s time to get caught up.

While the debate surrounding the ACA is far from over, the Court went to great lengths, for at least the second time, to ensure its implementation continues nationwide. Large employers that have already established the required measuring and reporting procedures may continue work as usual, while the dissent not so quietly ruminates on the ‘[i]mpossible possibility’ that the ACA, or should we say ‘SCOTUSCare,’ endures.”

Standing alone, the implications are minimal...

Robert Projansky, partner at Proskauer in New York and head of the firm’s Health Care Reform Task Force: “The implications of the King decision are significant in the sense that a contrary decision would have had a significant impact on the implementation of ACA, placing pressure on states and the federal government to consider further action. However, standing alone, the implications are minimal.  For the time being, the ACA will move forward, individuals throughout the country will remain eligible for premium assistance and employers will remain subject to the employer mandate.”

Additional comments:

Employers and plan sponsors should continue their efforts to both understand the application of the ACA (and the employer mandate in particular)...

Sarah Kregor and Daniel R Salemi of law firm Franczek Radelet: “Today’s decision also effectively upholds the ACA’s employer mandate or “employer shared responsibility” provision, which requires larger employers to provide minimum levels of affordable health coverage to their full-time employees or risk paying significant penalties. The employer mandate and the ACA in general will therefore remain the law for the foreseeable future. Employers and plan sponsors should therefore continue their efforts to both understand the application of the ACA (and the employer mandate in particular) and either ensure compliance or be prepared for the financial impact of non-compliance.”

The ACA has withstood what is likely to be the last of many major legal challenges...

Spencer Hamer and Stacey Zill of law firm Michelman & Robinson: “In writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts ruled that the structure and context of the law supported the interpretation that subsidies should be available even for the federal exchange, 'to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid.' The ACA has withstood what is likely to be the last of many major legal challenges.”

Kimberly McCarthy at Partridge Snow & Hahn: “Individuals and employers will see no change from this ruling: we just stick to the status quo. But the ruling is a major win for the Obama administration, and likely is the last major challenge to federal health reform.”

The focus returns to implementation...

Ilyse Schuman at law firm Littler: "With the ACA once again having survived the Supreme Court's scrutiny, the focus returns to implementation. The debate on the ACA in Congress did not end with the King v Burwell decision."


What say you about this latest SCOTUS decision? Are we done arguing Obamacare?



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