AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email ‘Obamacare’ heading back to Supreme Court: Case challenges the health law’s crucial subsidies by Mark Sherman, The Associated Press Posted Nov 7, 2014 10:52 am MDT WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a new challenge to President Barack Obama’s health care law — a case that threatens subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people afford their health insurance premiums.The justices said they will review a federal appeals court ruling that upheld IRS regulations that allow health-insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act for consumers in all 50 states. Opponents argue that most of the subsidies are illegal.The long-running political and legal campaign to overturn or limit the 2010 health overhaul will be making its second appearance at the Supreme Court. The justices upheld the heart of the law in a 5-4 decision in 2012 in which Chief Justice John Roberts provided the decisive vote.The case probably will be argued the first week in March, with a decision expected by late June.White House press secretary Josh Earnest promised a vigorous defence before the high court.“This lawsuit reflects just another partisan attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act and to strip millions of American families of tax credits that Congress intended for them to have,” Earnest said.In the appeal accepted Friday, opponents of the subsidies argue that the court should resolve the issue soon because it involves billions of dollars in public money.“The need for a quick and final resolution of this question is undeniable. This ‘subsidies-for-everyone’ rule affects nearly every person across the country, health insurance policyholders, workers and employers, taxpayers, and state and local governments,” said Sam Kazman, general counsel of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is paying for the legal challenges to the health care law.The health care law provides taxpayer-subsidized private health insurance for people who don’t have access to coverage on the job. More than 7 million people are currently enrolled and most are getting help, which is keyed to household income and the cost of a benchmark plan.The issue at the Supreme Court is whether the wording of the law limits insurance tax credits only to consumers who live in states that have set up their own insurance markets, known as exchanges.Only 16 states have set up their own exchanges, the Obama administration said in court papers. In the other 34 states, more than 4.5 million people are receiving subsidies to pay their insurance premiums. And the aid is considerable, covering an average of 76 per cent of the premiums.Customers now pay an average of $82 on total monthly premiums averaging $346. The federal subsidy of $264 a month makes up the difference.What made the court’s intervention on Friday surprising was the lack of disagreement among federal appeals courts that typically is a requirement for Supreme Court review. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited the absence of conflicting rulings when the justices rejected gay marriage appeals last month.But at least four justices, needed to grant review, apparently agreed with the challengers that the issue is important enough to decide now.Supporters of the health care law were flabbergasted and accused the court of veering into politics. The news came a week ahead of the second open enrolment season for subsidized private health insurance under the law.“All of the general guidelines that the court traditionally uses in determining whether it should schedule an appeal are totally absent in this case,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, an advocacy group that supported Obama’s health overhaul from its inception. Pollack called the court’s action “an unusual political act.”The legal challenge to the subsidies is “the most serious existential threat” facing the Affordable Care Act, said Pollack.When the court upheld the law in 2012, it still made a major change by ruling that the law’s Medicaid expansion for low-income people was optional for states. So far 27 states and the District of Columbia have accepted it. This week’s Republican election success makes it unlikely that the remaining 23 states will move any time soon.The subsidies issue is being fought in several courts. In July, the Richmond, Virginia-based appeals court upheld Internal Revenue Service regulations that allow health-insurance tax credits under the law for consumers in all 50 states.On that same July day, a panel of appellate judges in the District of Columbia, sided with the challengers in striking down the IRS regulations. The Washington court held that under the law, financial aid can be provided only in states that have set up their own exchanges.In October, the entire Washington appeals court voted to rehear the case and threw out the panel’s ruling, eliminating the so-called circuit split. The appeals argument has been scheduled for Dec. 17, but that case now recedes in importance with the Supreme Court’s decision to step in.The case is King v. Burwell, 14-114.___Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.___Follow Mark Sherman on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/shermancourt
Redshirt-junior Kevin Metka returns the ball during a match against North Carolina Feb. 28 at the Varsity Tennis Center. OSU won, 4-1.Credit: Ben Jackson / For The LanternThe No. 1 Ohio State men’s tennis team (17-0, 2-0) finally solved the riddle that is Penn State athletics, defeating the No. 34 Nittany Lions (10-1, 0-1) Sunday afternoon after topping No. 12 North Carolina (11-2) Friday night.For the third time in four matches, the Buckeyes lost the doubles point Sunday against the Nittany Lions. Redshirt-sophomore Chris Diaz and redshirt-freshman Ralf Steinbach rolled to an 8-1 victory over Penn State freshman Christian Lutschaunig and sophomore David Kohan, but the Nittany Lions were not deterred.Senior Russell Bader and sophomore Leonard Stakhovsky upset the Buckeyes’ No. 3 ranked duo of senior Peter Kobelt and redshirt-junior Kevin Metka, 8-6. Fellow Nittany Lions, senior Chris Young and junior Michael Reilly then followed it up with a 8-7 (7-5) win against redshirt-junior Hunter Callahan and freshman Herkko Pollanen to give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 advantage to begin the match.Coach Ty Tucker said he was not pleased with his team’s effort at the start.“We were as flat as we’ve been in 15 years,” Tucker said. “We looked like a deer in the headlights. Performance wasn’t very good from the coaching to the playing. Everything was below average.”The Buckeyes woke up in singles play, however, winning five of six first sets. Kobelt and Pollanen came out on fire, both winning in quick, straight sets. Kobelt was off first beating Stakhovsky 6-2, 6-2, and then Pollanen took care of Bader 6-1, 6-1.Metka got the Buckeyes within striking distance, defeating sophomore Matt Barry 6-4, 6-3. Callahan, playing right next to Metka, realized the match was his for the taking and took full advantage with a 6-3, 6-4 win in front of a large crowd that included athletic director Gene Smith.“I’ve been in that situation once before. I like it,” Callahan said of knowing he was playing for the match. “I don’t think it adds any pressure, just because we were up 3-1. There was no pressure for me today.”Not only did the win keep the top-ranked Buckeyes undefeated, but it also puts them one home victory away from tying the NCAA record for most consecutive home wins by a program (Stanford women’s tennis- 184).Friday night against the Tar Heels, the Buckeyes won the doubles point after dropping their previous two. Tucker said he thought about changing up his lineup, but keeping it the same worked out that night.“We were 50-50 whether we were going to switch Metka and Kobelt,” Tucker said. “We thought about it … We definitely have to do a better job in doubles, that’s for certain.”Diaz and Steinbach finished their match first after cruising to an 8-3 upset over Tar Heels junior Esben Hess-Olesen and sophomore Brett Clark. It was the duo’s first victory over a ranked opponent.Callahan and Pollanen had their serves broken consecutively and eventually fell to freshmen Ronnie Schneider and Brayden Schnur, 8-6. Kobelt and Metka stayed on serve all match with senior Nelson Vick and junior Oystein Steiro. In the tie break, Kobelt and Metka jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead and ended with an 8-7 (7-3) victory.Steinbach and Callahan got the Buckeyes off to a strong start in singles play with both winning in straight sets.Diaz lost his match against Clark, 6-3, 6-1, while Kobelt and Pollanen both dropped their first sets to give the Tar Heels a glimmer of hope.Metka seemed to have control of his first set against Hess-Olesen as he was up 5-2, but then lost three straight games and ended up playing in a tiebreak. Momentum seemed lost as he was down 4-2 in the tiebreak, but he regained his composure to come back and take the first set. In the second set, he broke Hess-Olesen’s serve once and held his serve the rest of the way to clinch the match with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 win.“We were neck-and-neck the whole tiebreaker,” Metka said. “He was up on me. I don’t know what happened, I got lucky and pulled it away. I won three in a row and went crazy.”The Buckeyes are next scheduled to play at No. 5 Oklahoma March 7. First serve is set for 6 p.m.