First, many state based exchanges are hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty surviving

Sec­ond, a fed­er­al appeals court just ruled that the fed­er­al exchange can­not offer subsidies

Cov­er Ore­gon is near­ly broke but tak­ing pris­on­ers, “claim­ing that it actu­al­ly did suc­ceed in build­ing a func­tion­ing web­site – but the state’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nor killed it for polit­i­cal reasons”

In Mass­a­chu­setts, a local dai­ly slammed Gov­er­nor Patrick for ‘again decid­ing to reward the incom­pe­tence of the ven­dor that was sup­posed to set up the state’s new Health Con­nec­tor web­site (CGI) but this time to the tune of $35 million

And Mass­a­chu­setts was sup­posed to be the mod­el for the nation…

The US Court of Appeals for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia, mean­while, said the IRS went too far in extend­ing sub­si­dies to those buy­ing insur­ance from the fed­er­al exchange.  Sub­si­dies are there­fore no longer allowed to be pro­vid­ed through these exchanges (for the record, Cal­i­for­nia would be exempt here, as we have a state based exchange).  The case is Hal­big v. Bur­well but in it, the court said “we reach this con­clu­sion, frankly, with reluc­tance.  At least until states that wish to can set up Exchanges (note – there aren’t any now) our rul­ing will like­ly have sig­nif­i­cant con­se­quences both for the mil­lions of indi­vid­u­als receiv­ing tax cred­its through fed­er­al Exchanges and for health insur­ance mar­kets more broad­ly”  In the dis­sent, it was stat­ed that “this case is about Appel­lants’ not so veiled attempt to gut the Patient Pro­tec­tion and Afford­able Care Act (ACA)”  (duh)  The White House demurs (of course) say­ing that ‘while this rul­ing is inter­est­ing to legal the­o­rists, it has no prac­ti­cal impact” on indi­vid­u­als’ abil­i­ty to cur­rent­ly receive tax cred­its for their health care.  The Press Sec­re­tary said “you don’t need a fan­cy legal degree to under­stand Con­gress intend­ed” for qual­i­fied indi­vid­u­als to receive tax cred­its regard­less of who was admin­is­ter­ing the exchange.

Fam­i­ly Med­ical Leave Act rede­fines Fam­i­ly to include Gen­der Neu­tral Marriages

The Depart­ment has pro­posed to move from a “state of res­i­dence” require­ment to rec­og­nize same sex mar­riages to “place of cel­e­bra­tion” which makes things quite a bit sim­pler, and easier

The pro­posed def­i­n­i­tion­al change means that eli­gi­ble employ­ees will be able to:

  1. Take FMLA leave to care for their same sex spouse with a seri­ous health condition
  2. Take qual­i­fy­ing exi­gency leave due to their same sex spouse’s cov­ered mil­i­tary service
  3. Take mil­i­tary care­giv­er leave for their same sex spouse