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How an Awesome Pizza Analogy Saved Health Care for Texas

Two separate and distinct rulings by federal courts about the Affordable Care Act underscore the importance of why courts matter - and why pizza is truly the great equalizer.

At question is a silly typo - and whether or not people living in states that have a federal exchange, as opposed to their own state-run exchange, can still have subsidies to help cover the costs of healthcare. If the typo is upheld, then millions of Americans could be at risk of seeing their premiums skyrocket.

But that's not going to happen.

A 3-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals each heard separate challenges to the same question, and each court ruled differently:

  • The conservative 3-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court ruled the subsidies to states with a federal exchange were not allowed. Thanks to filibuster reform, though, this ruling will likely be overturned by the full D.C. Circuit Panel - an important reminder why the fight for filibuster reform was so important, and why we need qualified judges to sit on our federal courts.
  • The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the subsidies to states with a federal exchange were allowed - and gave us one of the most accurate and awesome analogies of any recent court case.

Here's the full analogy from the 4th Circuit Court:

If I ask for pizza from Pizza Hut for lunch but clarify that I would be fine with a pizza from Domino’s, and I then specify that I want ham and pepperoni on my pizza from Pizza Hut, my friend who returns from Domino’s with a ham and pepperoni pizza has still complied with a literal construction of my lunch order. That is this case: Congress specified that Exchanges should be established and run by the states, but the contingency provision permits federal officials to act in place of the state when it fails to establish an Exchange. 

Important to note, also, that the White House has announced subsidies will continueFor a more nuanced look at today's news, you can read more here. Or, you can read the full rulings by the D.C. Circuit Court and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Either way, we suggest you order a pizza and remember: this is why courts matter!