As Appeals Courts Differ On Obamacare Exchanges, Pence Says Indiana Got It Right

Jul 23, 2014

One appeals court panel says those buying healthcare from the federal exchange can't take subsidies to pay for it, another rejects that argument.

Governor Mike Pence says he stands by his decision not to operate a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. 

Two federal appeals courts Tuesday ruled on cases involving insurance subsidies in the Affordable Care Act.  A Washington D.C. circuit court ruled that the federal government cannot provide subsidies for more than four million Americans—including more than 100,000 Hoosiers-- who purchased insurance through federally-run healthcare exchanges. 

Just a few hours later, an appeals court in Virginia ruled in favor of the Obama administration. 

Indiana University professor William Popkin says invalidating the subsidies would have an enormous impact on Indiana’s low-income population, who would no longer be required to purchase health insurance under the law.

“Without the credit, it will be so expensive, given their income level, that they will not be faced with a penalty and the price of the insurance may dissuade them, discourage them from actually buying it,” Popkin says.

Governor Pence says he hasn’t had second thoughts about choosing not to run a state-based exchange.

“A number of states across the country that set up their exchanges have abandoned them or begun to unwind them, so I think we made the right decision in that regard,” the governor says.

Pence says he hasn’t read the court opinions and doesn’t want to comment on what the state might do if its citizens are left without the subsidies.

Ultimately the Supreme Court is likely to take up the case, and until then the Obama administration says it will continue to provide the federal assistance.