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High court declines to review Oklahoma case against Affordable Care Act

The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to consider Oklahoma’s case against Affordable Care Act subsidies as part of the justices’ review of the issue.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt had asked the court to pair the state’s case with one from Virginia. In that case, a federal appeals court ruled that the health insurance law allowed the U.S. government to subsidize insurance policies purchased on federal exchanges.

The lawsuit was brought by Virginia residents who argued that the 2010 law only allows subsidies for policies bought on state exchanges. The subsidies are intended to help people afford coverage.

A federal judge in Oklahoma sided with Pruitt and ruled last year that the subsidies should only be available to insurance policies purchased on state exchanges.

The Obama administration appealed that decision to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has yet to rule. Pruitt wanted the Supreme Court to take the Oklahoma case before the 10th Circuit actually ruled, which would be an unusual step.

The high court declined.

Still, the issue being pressed by Pruitt and other opponents of the Affordable Care Act is expected to be decided sometime this summer.

If the court rules that the subsidies are only available for policies purchased on state exchanges, thousands of Oklahomans will lose the federal aid and many won’t be able to afford insurance.


Note: An earlier version of this post said the subsidies were available on federal exchanges and not state exchanges. The opposite is the case.

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Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›