Updated with details on Virginia ruling that followed D.C. decision
Two U.S. federal courts came to opposite conclusions Tuesday on the legality of health insurance subsidies provided to federally-run exchange plans.
The crux of both cases was language in the Affordable Care Act that established to whom subsidies apply: "Applicable taxpayers" who enrolled in plans "through an Exchange by the state." The federal government argued that the ACA established "complete equivalence between state and federal exchanges," while the opposition argued the language clearly denied tax credits to consumers in states with federally-run marketplaces.
In the first ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found the language to "plainly distinguish" between state-run and federally-run exchanges. That decision dealt a major blow to the affordability piece of health reform, stripping subsidies from consumers in the 36 states that did not create their own marketplaces, including Tennessee. BlueCross BlueShield reported in May that 80