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Democratic Leadership, Health Law Authors Sign Amicus Brief Defending Use of Tax Credits on Federally-Run Marketplaces

Pelosi, Reid, Levin, Miller, Waxman, Baucus, Harkin, and 125 State Legislators Join Constitutional Accountability Center Amicus Brief in Halbig Case Before U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Washington, D.C. –  Democratic leadership and the chairs of the committees involved in drafting the Affordable Care Act have joined a brief defending the use of tax credits on federally-run health insurance Marketplaces in the case of Halbig v. Sebelius in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The brief, submitted by the Constitutional Accountability Center, was signed by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), senior Ways and Means Committee Democrat Sandy Levin (D-MI), senior Education and Workforce Committee Democrat George Miller (D-CA), senior Energy and Commerce Democrat Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), former Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), and 125 state legislators.  The challengers in the Halbig case claim that the Act’s drafters in Congress crafted the law to provide essential tax credits to middle- and low-income Americans, but only on state-operated health insurance marketplaces, not the federal marketplaces now in place in 36 states.

The filed amicus brief refutes the challengers' claim through two main arguments: that through the Affordable Care Act, Congress never intended or suggested to the states that tax credits would only be available to individuals who purchased insurance on state-run exchanges, and that state government officials never understood the tax credits to be limited to state-run exchanges.

“Congress did not provide that the tax credits would only be available to citizens whose States set up their own Exchanges.  The purpose of the tax credit provision was to facilitate access to affordable insurance through the Exchanges— not, as Appellants would have it, to incentivize the establishment of state Exchanges above all else, and certainly not to thwart Congress’s fundamental purpose of making insurance affordable for all Americans,” the brief reads.

Further, the brief notes, “there is no support for Appellants’ position in either the statutory provisions that establish the Exchanges or in the provisions creating the relevant tax credits.”

A copy of the brief can be seen here.