Divided federal appeals judges debate Obamacare _lowres


WASHINGTON (AP) — A split federal appeals court is grappling with an issue that is crucial to the success of President Barack Obama’s health care law, debating whether the government can subsidize premiums for people who buy insurance on exchanges run by Washington.

The importance of the exchanges, or marketplaces, for the administration’s signature domestic program is that most states have been unable or unwilling to set up their own exchanges. As a result, the federal government has stepped in to take the lead in 36 states.

In arguments Tuesday before a three-member appeals panel, Judge Harry Edwards said the goal of those opposed to federal exchanges is to kill the Affordable Care Act, while Judge A. Raymond Randolph called the law’s launch an unmitigated disaster.