- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 18, 2014

Obamacare critics who took the administration all the way to the Supreme Court over the law’s subsidies have sued once again — this time, because it says federal officials are “stonewalling” its request for public records about how it developed the overhaul’s health exchanges.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is funding the high-profile subsidies case titled King v. Burwell, said its freedom-of-information requests for documents related to tax-credit calculators on HealthCare.gov, the federal portal that now serves 37 states, have gone unheeded.

It wants to know more about the evolution of the administration’s thinking about tax credits on the federal exchange, since states did not confirm whether they intended to set up their own exchanges until about two years after the 2010 law’s passage.

“Our document requests go to the heart of an important question: What did HHS think of Obamacare subsidies, and when did it think it?” the institute’s general counsel, Sam Kazman, said. “Given the current debate over this issue, HHS has no business stonewalling our request.”

The institute’s CEI%20v.%20HHS%20-%20Filed%20Complaint%20-%20No.%2014-2138%20-%20Dec%2017_0.pdf” target=”_blank”>lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claims they did not receive a substantive response to their records’ requests within 20 business days.

An HHS spokeswoman countered their claims, saying the agency responded in three days to get more information so it could process the request, but that the institute did not reply.

The institute is trying to buttress its high-profile “King” case, which says the IRS unlawfully extended the law’s tax credits to all the states.

The administration and Obamacare’s Democratic authors insist they never intended to treat certain states differently under the law.

But Mr. Kazman and others say the Affordable Care Act of 2010 reserved subsidies for exchanges “established by the state,” which they took to mean the exchanges set up by 15 states and the District, and not those that relied on the federal exchange.

If the justices agree and cut off subsidies to two-thirds of the states, enrollees may be unable to pay their premiums and the law will be much less attractive, giving Republican lawmakers a big boost in their efforts to dismantle it.


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