U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler wasted no time Tuesday in using a federal court’s ruling striking down a key component of the Affordable Care Act to blast the health care law.
The panel ruled that the federal government could not issue tax subsidies for consumers who enrolled using the federal health insurance exchange.
“This ruling against one of the health care law’s central pillars is just one latest reminder of how problem-riddled and unworkable the Affordable Care Act is,” Herrera Beutler said in a statement.
The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in Halbig v. Burwell, said subsidies for health insurance premiums could only be issued to those who buy health insurance through state-run health insurance exchanges. The ruling was contradicted by another ruling on Tuesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, in Richmond. The Richmond appellate court said the subsidies were allowed, noting the Internal Revenue Service’s interpretation was a “permissible exercise of the agency’s discretion,” according to national media reports.
One of Herrera Beutler’s first votes in Congress was to repeal the Affordable Care Act. She has said in previous interviews with The Columbian, however, that it’s time for Republicans to offer solutions rather than simply call for the law to be repealed.
Although the court ruling isn’t expected to affect Washingtonians, since it is aimed at the federal marketplace and Washington created it’s own health insurance exchange, Herrera Beutler noted in her statement that Washington has recently unveiled a “glitch” that could affect the coverage of 6,000 people.
The Seattle Times recently reported that problems with the state’s health insurance exchange’s software has prevented as many as 6,000 consumers from having their accounts posted to health insurance companies. Some people were told they do not have coverage.
“We don’t need any more glaring reminders that our region needs better patient-centered health care reform that makes health care more accessible, affordable and higher quality for everyone. There are better solutions to ensure Americans who are young, or struggling, or living with a pre-existing condition can access good health care,” Herrera Beutler said in a statement.