“Obama’s plan makes tax credits available to people who get health insurance from exchanges set up by state governments. If states don’t establish those exchanges, the federal government will do so for them. The federal exchanges, however, don’t come with tax credits: The law authorizes credits only for people who get insurance from state-established exchanges. And that creates some problems the administration didn’t foresee, and now hopes to wish away.”

“Oklahoma’s attorney general on Wednesday filed a fresh legal challenge to the federal health-overhaul law, zeroing in on penalties that employers in the state would face if they didn’t offer affordable health coverage to their workers. The lawsuit puts a new twist on opponents’ legal fight against the overhaul.”

“Christian-oriented Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging a mandate in the nation’s health care overhaul law that requires employers to provide coverage for the morning-after pill and similar drugs.”

“Essentially, the Court struck down the mandate while retaining the penalty. So those champions of Obamacare who relied on behavioral economics to argue that the law’s individual mandate could be sufficient to avert an insurance death spiral must now contend with the fact that the Court has closed off that argument.”

“Another prominent religious college has filed suit against the Obama administration over a policy meant to ease women’s access to free birth control. The suit from Ill.-based Wheaton College — dubbed the ‘Notre Dame’ of Protestant higher education — states that the controversial policy violates the religious freedom of people who object to birth control or consider forms of it equal to abortion.”

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) provides tax credits and subsidies for the purchase of qualifying health insurance plans on state-run insurance exchanges. Contrary to expectations, many states are refusing or otherwise failing to create such exchanges. An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule purports to extend these tax credits and subsidies to the purchase of health insurance in federal exchanges created in states without exchanges of their own. This rule lacks statutory authority. The text, structure, and history of the Act show that tax credits and subsidies are not available in federally run exchanges. The IRS rule is contrary to congressional intent and cannot be justified on other legal grounds. Because the granting of tax credits can trigger the imposition of fines on employers, the IRS rule is likely to be challenged in court.”

“If the courts were to accept Adler’s and Cannon’s argument, that could effectively enable states to kill federal exchanges by empowering them to cut off the subsidies. Without subsidies, the federal exchanges would not be economically viable because they couldn’t get as many people to sign up for coverage.”

“The Roberts court declared this threat unconstitutional, finding that Washington could use the carrot (dangling new money) but not the stick (withdrawing old money). The states, when they initially signed up for Medicaid, could not have anticipated that Congress would one day enact a law that caused Medicaid to be ‘no longer a program to care for the neediest among us, but rather an element of a comprehensive national plan to provide universal health insurance coverage,’ the Court reasoned.”

“Though the ultimate disposition of the case was disappointing, today could become a turning point of constitutional law, so long as the public maintains its current level of interest in the constitutional limits on congressional power that have been affirmed by the court. To see why, we need to step back.”

“The Supreme Court’s ObamaCare decision is both a triumph and a tragedy for our constitutional system. On the plus side, as we have long argued in these pages and in the courts, the justices held that Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce cannot support federal requirements imposed on Americans simply because they exist. The court also ruled that there are limits to Congress’s ability to use federal spending to force the states to adopt its preferred policies.”