Consumers think all subsidies should be legal

Most consumers believe subsidies should be legal on both the state-based and federal exchanges, according to a new poll.

The study, out this week from Morning Consult, found that 58 percent of registered voters think all subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exchanges — whether they’re state or federal run — should be legal and available to enrollees. Only 15 percent disagreed and 27 percent said they didn’t have an opinion.

The findings come in the wake of two contradictory court rulings on the legality of subsidies. On July 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled the government can’t give financial assistance to anyone buying coverage on the federal exchange.

Later that day, a panel of three judges in Richmond, Virginia, ruled the opposite, concluding that while the language of the law is ambiguous, the IRS had the discretion to write rules for PPACA.

Those who identified themselves as liberal were more likely to support subsidies in any exchange (74 percent), although those identifying as conservative were twice as likely to support subsidies through all exchanges (47 percent versus 24 percent).

However, a majority of voters said they weren’t aware — or knew very little about — the subsidy controversy. Just 14 percent of all registered voters said they paid “a lot” of attention to these cases, 30 percent said “some,” 29 percent said “not much” and 28 percent said “not at all.”

The poll was conducted Aug. 1-3 among more than 1,800 voters.

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