June 25, 2015

Jenner & Block Partner Matthew S. Hellman appeared on two recent editions of Fox’s Happening Now show to talk about two US Supreme Court decisions.  In one episode, Mr. Hellman discussed the Court’s ruling that upheld a critical provision of the Affordable Care Act, holding that Congress intended the ACA’s insurance subsidies to be available nationwide, not only in states with their own insurance exchanges but also in the 34 states with an insurance exchange operated by the federal government.  In reaching that decision, the Court relied on and repeatedly cited an amicus brief filed by the firm on behalf of 52 noted economists who argued that the economic underpinnings of the ACA require subsidies to be made available for insurance purchased through the federal exchange.  Mr. Hellman explained that the economists concluded that, without the federal subsidies, “there would be high costs on society and on individuals.”   In another episode, Mr. Hellman discussed the Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriages across the United States.  That decision, he explained, is the “law of the land going forward.”  While religious clergy will not be forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies that are against their faith,  county clerks cannot refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples. The “future debate” may surround the question of whether businesses and organizations must comply with the ruling, although Mr. Hellman observed that businesses or organizations that receive federal benefits may indeed have to treat same-sex couples the same as straight couples to continue receiving such benefits.