Affordable Care Act drafting error could strip health care subsidy from thousands in Wisconsin

2014-08-26T12:30:00Z Affordable Care Act drafting error could strip health care subsidy from thousands in WisconsinJESSICA VANEGEREN | The Capital Times | jvanegeren@madison.com madison.com

A drafting glitch that could strip 5 million people, including thousands in Wisconsin, who have purchased health insurance on the exchange to lose tax subsidies that drastically cut their insurance costs, could land the Affordable Care Act back before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The drafting glitch, which the LA Times details in this article, came as a result of a merger between two versions of the health care reform bill that would eventually require everyone to have health insurance. Those that could not afford it would be given a tax subsidy to offset the cost.

What many failed to predict was the resistance by most states, including Wisconsin, to set up their own health care exchanges, instead opting for residents to purchase health care on the federal exchange.

Last month, two separate rulings from federal courts left the future ability of thousands to continue receiving subsidized health care in limbo, but handing down split decisions on whether residents in states without state-run exchanges should be eligible for a subsidy.

Fourteen states established their own exchanges since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. The rest, including Wisconsin, did not. Roughly 135,000 Wisconsin residents have insurance on the exchange, with about 90 percent receiving subsidies. 

Until the litigation is over, subsidies are continuing in all states.

Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, an issue-based group that advocates for affordable health care, called the dilemma created by the two rulings a “ridiculous situation” that could be fixed by Congress.

Kraig said the intent of the law is clear. But strong opposition to the Affordable Care Act is preventing conservatives in Congress from fixing the bill, just as conservatives blocked a technical correction bill from fixing the error nearly five years ago.

“The (legal) case can be ended at any time by Congress,” Kraig said. “This is not proof there is a flaw in the law. This is correcting a technicality.”

Kraig added if millions of people are suddenly stripped of health care subsidies, the cost of their monthly premiums will double or triple. While no one knows if the Supreme Court will take the case, Kraig said the politics of the issue are much worse for conservatives and opponents of the Affordable Care Act, particularly if the court rules subsidies will only be available to residents in state-created exchanges.

“It’s just like Gov. Scott Walker is now taking the blame for not taking the federal money to expand BadgerCare. The same thing will happen with this,” Kraig said. “They (conservatives) will become the problem.”

Kraig said this latest round of efforts to land the Affordable Care Act back in court shows an “incredible lack of civility” by opponents and conservatives.

“They will do anything to undermine health care reform,” Kraig said. “The law passed in 2010 and Republicans are still trying to run this train off the tracks.”

Copyright 2015 madison.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(31) Comments

  1. GamechangerSaloned
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    GamechangerSaloned - August 28, 2014 7:42 am
    dem plan: Don't get sick and think you'll be able to see your familiar doctor you are used to on the plan you used to be perfectly happy with because we lied to you about the law in order to pass it and then get obama re-elected.

  2. GamechangerSaloned
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    GamechangerSaloned - August 28, 2014 7:39 am
    Still no retraction on this easily provable lie by the administration?
  3. AllAmerican11B
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    AllAmerican11B - August 28, 2014 7:20 am
    RichardSRussell,
    "...looking for some trivial detail that they could intentionally misinterpret..."

    Since you used the word "misinterpret" it appears that you think there is no merit to their argument; I'm just a bit curious Richard, regardless of how or why you think this issue came up, do you think there is any merit whatsoever to their argument? Toss aside partisan politics for a moment and use the analytical side of your brain to answer that question.
  4. BRS
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    BRS - August 27, 2014 8:23 pm
    Truth really hurts doesn't it .
  5. goldennugget
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    goldennugget - August 27, 2014 12:19 pm
    When you can't think for yourself a cliche will do.
  6. timbo
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    timbo - August 27, 2014 9:44 am
    See what happens when you debate your health care reform on C-SPAN?
  7. GamechangerSaloned
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    GamechangerSaloned - August 27, 2014 7:53 am
    When does TCT think about issuing a retraction to this easily provable lie about a drafting error?

    That is shaping up to be the polifact lie of the year for 14.

    If truth matters, then you are doing your readers a disservice being errand boys for this new administration lie.
  8. Middle Man
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    Middle Man - August 26, 2014 10:51 pm
    Nothing like owning a mistake. Blame it on someone else....Bush did it, lol
  9. notakers
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    notakers - August 26, 2014 9:49 pm
    If States choose to
  10. GamechangerSaloned
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    GamechangerSaloned - August 26, 2014 9:21 pm
    Romneycare was setup on the state level to best deal with the demands of the state's residents.

    It was never intended to be a one size fits all federal law. Romney didn't have to lie to the people of Mass. Guess the dems screwed that part up.

    Nobody is forgetting anything, it's the left that falls back to this familiar meme.

    Most Americans understand how messed up ACA is, that's why it's never enjoyed much popularity, and it's not going to after they stop delaying the employer mandate.

    The dem plan: If you get sick, well you won't be seeing your old familiar doctor on your old plan cause we all LIED to you.
  11. GamechangerSaloned
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    GamechangerSaloned - August 26, 2014 8:07 pm
    Don't bother Richard with the facts he's got stuff to make up.
  12. BRS
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    BRS - August 26, 2014 7:59 pm
    All you republicans forget this was modeled after Romneycare . You remember him , the guy you voted for in the last presidential election . When it was Romneycare it was great , but once it was Obamacare , you did everything in your power to destroy it . Remember the republicans heath care plan ? If you get sick , die , and die fast .
  13. BRS
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    BRS - August 26, 2014 7:47 pm
    They don't care musky . They hope you will sign up for the republican health care plan . If you get sick die , and die fast .
  14. notakers
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    notakers - August 26, 2014 6:13 pm
    Let's be frank about this. When Scott Brown won the senate seat in Massachusetts, the democrats feared that a compromise ACA that could have been returned to the Senate with corrections would not pass because the democrats lost their super majority. The democrats controlled the House and to avoid the Senate , passed the original ACA full of errors and the President signed it. I would say the democrats created this mess.
  15. 196ski
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    196ski - August 26, 2014 5:35 pm
    No worries muskyman1, those of us paying taxes are tickled pink helping you out so you don't have to do your doctoring in the emergency department.
  16. GamechangerSaloned
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    GamechangerSaloned - August 26, 2014 5:12 pm
    It's not a technicality though, they are lying to you trying to cover their tracks when the plan didn't work as they thought it would. The dems designed the law like this, it is not a drafting error. They wanted to put political pressure on the individual states in order to get them on board (ie the people in the state demanding a state exchange so they could get their subsidies)

    Wisely many states choose to not set up their own exchanges, and now they are pretending it is just a glitch.

    Think what you want about republicans but nobody should trust a democrat about this healthcare bill seeing as they are more then willing to lie to your face about it.
  17. muskyman1
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    muskyman1 - August 26, 2014 4:52 pm
    I have an ACA sponsored policy. It's a great policy, and the system has worked great for me. I also have many health issues that the insurance pays for medication. My wifes employer does not offer insurance because they have less than 50 FTE's. If this technicality keeps me from getting my insurance, I'll have to start doctoring at the emergency room, and the rest of you a s s hats can pay for my bill through increased clinic and hospital fees, because I cannot afford to pay them. So go ahead, side with the republicans and favor this technicality, ultimately, you're just going to pay fir it in the long run.
  18. AllAmerican11B
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    AllAmerican11B - August 26, 2014 4:14 pm
    Actually the claim of the "fog of controversy" was grossly understated, it was actually a smoke screen cover-up of epic proportions from the most transparent administration ever and the smoke screen was delivered by none other than the defacto mouthpiece of the Democratic Party at the time - Nancy Pelosi.

    This is exactly the kind of thing that happens when HUGE bills pass that no one actually understands.
  19. happydays
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    happydays - August 26, 2014 3:47 pm
    Richard - they actually went out and promoted the fact that it was written to make the states go along with it - when they saw what a fail that was - they tried to walk it back. But videos don't disappear and after a couple of them - they had to stop denying it
  20. happydays
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    happydays - August 26, 2014 3:45 pm
    Yeah - the federal administration screwed up and it's Walker's fault. Why don't we just all admit that the democrats messed up obamacare, the law is a mess and the states were smart to stay out of the whole mess
  21. AllAmerican11B
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    AllAmerican11B - August 26, 2014 3:43 pm
    Haven't you conveniently forgotten two very important things related to bills in Washington and very specifically the ACA:

    1. The devil is in the details.

    2. "But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it, away from the fog of controversy." Nancy Pelosi
  22. WI_Expat
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    WI_Expat - August 26, 2014 3:40 pm
    The result of "must pass the law so we can see what's in it"
  23. remy17
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    remy17 - August 26, 2014 3:39 pm
    the law is flawed, marginally within Constitutional bounds and fraught with costs unseen until 2016.

    remove emotion, learn the law and it's true costs long term should cause one some heartburn. we cannot suddenly ensure 30-40 million people for free.

    in addition, where will all the caregivers come from? personal experience has shown many will leave their medical profession once the limitations are put on their fees without tort reform, which this wondrous Act ignores.

  24. WI_Expat
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    WI_Expat - August 26, 2014 3:29 pm
    The result of "must pass the law so we can see what's in it"
  25. RichardSRussell
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    RichardSRussell - August 26, 2014 3:08 pm
    Let's be clear. This was not a drafting error. This was the result of a horde of GOP lawyers going over the text of the bill with a fine-tooth comb looking for some trivial detail that they could intentionally misinterpret so they could literally make a federal case out of it.
  26. GamechangerSaloned
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    GamechangerSaloned - August 26, 2014 2:33 pm
    oh come on now. The dems own this.
  27. lloll
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    lloll - August 26, 2014 2:29 pm
    Republicans voted for nearly every ammendment to it right? Both parties are responsible for the outcome.
  28. GamechangerSaloned
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    GamechangerSaloned - August 26, 2014 2:23 pm
    This is the next round of lies about ACA after the lie of the year "keep your plan, keep your doctor"

    People they are lying to you when they call this a drafting error or glitch between two bills.

    Please read this: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2014/07/25/grubers-obamacare-lie-n1865810

    He is caught on number videos saying "If you're a state and you don't set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits."

    This was supposed to pressure states into creating their own exchanges but it failed (par for ACA) miserably and now they must make lies about it being a glitch.

    If this law is so good why do they keep having to lie about it?
  29. epic
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    epic - August 26, 2014 1:53 pm
    I'm generally in favor of providing health care insurance assistance to those who can't afford to purchase it on their own. There are a lot of people who work in low paying jobs that need to obtain health care because their employers don't provide it. Kind of hard for a person making $25,000 a year to buy health insurance that consumes a third of pre-tax income. That being said, the Democrats did a miserable job of constructing the bill. The roll out of the website was an abomination. Nancy Pelosi's admonition about passing the bill to find out what was in the bill didn't make any sense. So, rather than Kraig harping about "technicalities", he should hold those who voted for it accountable. There wasn't enough deliberation and it was railroaded through on a strait party vote. Live with it.
  30. Act 10 Rocks
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    Act 10 Rocks - August 26, 2014 1:46 pm
    Heaven forbid we blame the idiots who made this law? Not 1 Republican voted for it. We will not forgive or forget those who did.
  31. BRS
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    BRS - August 26, 2014 1:44 pm
    Well Scotty , there goes 121,500 votes .Can you afford to loose that many votes come November . Going to be close .
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