Speed Reads

Mmmm, pizza

ObamaCare is like Pizza Hut, appeals court explains

A pizza is a pizza regardless of who makes it, so long as the eater of said pizza finds it delicious, a federal appeals court said Tuesday in upholding ObamaCare's subsidies.

The case concerned a snippet in the Affordable Care Act that some claimed prevented the feds from offering subsidies in states without state-run insurance exchanges. The ACA allowed states to decide whether or not to establish their own exchanges, and a passage in the law said only that subsidies could go to people who purchased insurance via a state-run exchange. Ergo, as one court ruled, subsidies weren't allowed in more than half of the states nationwide since the federal government ran their exchanges.

But a second appeals court said that argument was egregious hair-splitting because the law clearly intended for residents in every state to qualify for subsidies. So in a unanimous ruling, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals used a pizza metaphor to make its case:

If I ask for pizza from Pizza Hut for lunch but clarify that I would be fine with a pizza from Domino's, and I then specify that I want ham and pepperoni on my pizza from Pizza Hut, my friend who returns from Domino's with a ham and pepperoni pizza has still complied with a literal construction of my lunch order. That is this case: Congress specified that Exchanges should be established and run by the states, but the contingency provision permits federal officials to act in place of the state when it fails to establish an Exchange. [PDF]

Coincidentally, the ruling came out around lunch time.