With the Supreme Court set to rule in the current Term on the scope of individuals’ access to subsidies to help them afford health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided on Wednesday afternoon to step aside. In a brief order, the en banc appeals court granted the request of the challengers to hold the case “in abeyance” until the Justices rule.
The D.C. Circuit had taken on the case en banc after a three-judge panel had ruled that the subsidies would only be available for individuals who shopped for health insurance on exchanges set up by state governments — in sixteen states — and not for those who go to federally run exchanges — in thirty-four states. That is the issue the Supreme Court agreed last Friday to decide, with a ruling to come later in this Term, in the case of King v. Burwell.
In the King case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had upheld the extension of the subsidies nationwide, including those exchanges organized and operated by the federal government when states refused to do so.
Cases on the same issue are now pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in a case pursued by the state of Oklahoma, and in a U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, in a case filed by the state of Indiana and a group of school districts in the state. Whether those cases will go forward, or will also be put on hold, is not clear at this point.