SCOTUS passes on Obamacare suit challenging premium tax assistance

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The Supreme Court of the United States has taken a pass for now on a new Obamacare challenge.

King v Burwell did not appear on a list of orders released by the United States Supreme Court on Monday. The suit challenges whether premium tax incentives can be given to people who enroll in Obamacare through a federal exchange or whether they are limited to those who tap into a state run exchange, instead.

Florida is one of 34 states not to implement an exchange. Since being elected governor, Rick Scott has  opposed implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He put the brakes on planning grants that state health care and insurance officials had requested and received under the Charlie Crist administration. The Legislature never authorized a state run exchange.

Nearly 1 million Floridians used the federal exchange, more than any other state in 2014, according to federal data.

The Obama administration says the credits are vital to making the Affordable Care Act work and were meant for everyone who purchased insurance through the exchange, a marketplace to purchase approved health plans.Those who would like to see the premium assistance abolished argue that the law allows the credits only for those “enrolled in an exchange established by the state.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the subsidies in July. The decision was appealed to the SCOTUS because, at the time, it was in conflict with another decision; a panel of  the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 that the credits were only authorized in the 16 states that operate their own exchanges.

The Obama Administration, however, requested the full court hear the case. The court agreed, vacated the previous decision, and oral arguments are set for December 17.