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Obama to disregard, appeal court ruling on Obamacare subsidies

Administration to disregard, appeal court ruling on Obamacare subsidies.
Administration to disregard, appeal court ruling on Obamacare subsidies.
Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a ruling in the Halbig v. Burwell case that said more than half the country shouldn't be receiving tax subsidies under Obamacare, effectively crippling the president's signature law. But the Obama administration has decided to disregard the ruling, saying "nothing has changed."

"We believe that this decision is incorrect, inconsistent with Congressional intent, different from previous rulings, and at odds with the goal of the law: to make health care affordable no matter where people live," said Department of Justice spokesperson Emily Pierce. "The government will therefore immediately seek further review of the court’s decision. In the meantime, to be clear, people getting premium tax credits should know that nothing has changed, tax credits remain available."

Business Insider said the administration is set to appeal to the full D.C. Circuit Court, which is heavily stacked in Obama's favor, having seven Democrats to four Republicans. Four of the judges on the court were appointed by Obama, Business Insider added. But even if the court finds in favor of the administration, the case is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.

The conservative Americans for a Limited Government praised the court decision, saying that if it survives Supreme Court scrutiny it will be the end of Obamacare in the 36 affected states. The group also excoriated the administration for choosing to not follow the court decision.

"It will be such a mess that perhaps the only solution will be for Congress to repeal the law. The 36 state legislatures and governors that refused to implement the exchanges are to be praised—as they may have enabled the nation to dodge the Obamacare bullet," said group president Nathan Mehrens.

By choosing to not follow the ruling, however, senior editor Robert Romano told Examiner.com the administration "is not even pretending to follow the law." Although Pierce said the administration intends to appeal, Romano said the administration has not yet done so, nor has it asked for a rehearing in front of the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, or requested a stay of the decision.

"As it stands the court has struck down the IRS regulation implementing subsidies in federal exchanges as illegal under the law," he told Examiner. "Unless and until there is something from a court that says otherwise, the Obama administration is bound to follow the ruling in Halbig decision, which says there can be no subsidies in the 36 states operating under federal exchanges."