- The Washington Times - Monday, November 24, 2014

President Obama’s top health official said Monday the health care law will overcome a Supreme Court challenge that argues the administration is illegally doling out subsidies to about two-thirds of the states.

“The United States Congress did not intend that some states, and citizens of only some states, would benefit from this and residents of other states would not. This was not the intent of the law,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said at an event in San Antonio, according to 1200 News Radio WOAI.

Mrs. Burwell is touting the Affordable Care Act after a relatively smooth first week of open enrollment. The signup period, the second-ever under the law, lasts until Feb. 15.

Like her predecessor, Kathleen Sebelius, is focusing her efforts on Florida and Texas, two large states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the law and did not set up their own health exchange.

The Supreme Court this term will hear arguments in King v. Burwell, a challenge that says customers in states that relied on the federal health exchange should not enjoy premium tax credits to defray the cost of their monthly premiums.

The challengers say the law reserved the subsidies for exchanges “established by the state,” meaning the 16 states — plus the District of Columbia — that set up their own, because the law’s architects wanted to compel the states to take on the task.

The White House and Democratic framers of the law say that’s not true, and they never intended to treat certain states differently than others.

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