March 25 (Bloomberg) — The Obama administration's claim that its health-care overhaul allows subsidies on health plans bought through a federal exchange met skepticism from an appeals court panel, with two judges suggesting the law as written doesn't support the payments.

The government's argument that the court should look to Congress's intent on the subsidies, rather than gaps in the statute opponents say make the payments illegal, fell flat with U.S. Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph.

"What you've got is language that's not malleable," he said today during a hearing in Washington. "An exchange established by the state" means "an exchange that's established by the federal government?"

Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith said determining what Congress intended was difficult because "there doesn't seem to be a lot of clear legislative history."

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