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