Jenner & Block

Firm Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of 52 Noted Economists in Support of Affordable Care Act Subsidies

On January 28, 2015, Jenner & Block filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of King v. Burwell, which will determine whether the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may promulgate regulations to provide tax-credit subsidies for health insurance purchased through exchanges established by the federal government under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The brief argues that the economic underpinnings of the ACA require subsidies to be made available for insurance purchased through federally facilitated exchanges.  According to the brief, “Congress well understood the importance of subsidies to the ACA reforms.  The basic economic framework undergirding that statute can be analogized to a stool with three legs.  All three legs [non-discrimination rules, individual mandate and premium subsidies] are necessary to foster stable, functioning insurance markets consistent with Congress’ goal of broad, affordable coverage.  Economic modeling confirms what Congress understood:  without premium subsidies for every eligible person who buys insurance on an Exchange, the ACA cannot achieve its goals.”

The brief was submitted on behalf of a group of 52 internationally recognized bipartisan economic scholars, including economists who served in the administrations of Presidents Johnson, Ford, Carter, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama.  The amici include Kenneth Arrow, Peter Diamond and Eric Maskin, recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences; Henry Aaron, a former assistant secretary of the Department of Health Education & Welfare; Alice Rivlin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office; and Lawrence Summers and Laura Tyson, former directors of the National Economic Council.

Jenner & Block Partner Matthew S. Hellman led the team that drafted the brief, assisted by Partner Matthew E. Price and Associates Julie Straus Harris and Previn Warren.