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Supreme Court To Review Another Obamacare Legal Challenge

By William Mears | CNN

The Supreme Court will review another controversial part of the health care reform law championed by President Barack Obama.

The justices announced Friday they will look at one of the law's most fundamental provisions: tax credits that subsidize health coverage purchased on federal exchanges. The credits are a central element of the law in states that decided not to set up their own exchanges. If the Court rejects them, coverage could be upended for millions of Americans..

Oral arguments will be held next year, with a ruling by June. The Supreme Court upheld another key element of the law -- that individuals pay a tax if they don't sign up for health insurance -- in 2012. The latest cast comes as Republicans who will have full control of Congress next year are also pledging to repeal the law.

The legal argument involves a provision in the health care law that says people who obtained coverage through state-run exchanges can get federal subsidies such as tax credits. But the law does not specifically say that those signing up on the separate federal exchange also are eligible.

Opponents of the law contend that lack of specificity renders illegal the subsidies for anyone who enrolled through the federal exchange. Two federal appeals courts looking at the same issue reached opposite conclusions on the same day, back in July, creating a legal path for final review by the Supreme Court.

The political and financial stakes could be enormous, potentially gutting the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which passed with zero GOP votes.

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Background Photo Credit: Kasia Broussalian © 2015