The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided on ideological lines on Wednesday as it heard a second major challenge to President Barack Obama's healthcare law targeting tax subsidies intended to help people afford insurance, with Justice Anthony Kennedy appearing to be the possible swing vote in a decision. Kennedy, a conservative on the nine-member court who often casts the deciding vote in close cases, raised concerns to lawyers on both sides about the possible negative impact on states if the government loses the case, suggesting he could back the Obama administration. Chief Justice John Roberts, who supplied the key vote in a 5-4 ruling in 2012 upholding the law in the previous challenge, said little during the argument to signal how he might vote. If the court rules against the Obama administration, up to 7.5 million people in at least 34 states would lose the tax subsidies that help low- and moderate-income people buy private health insurance, according to the consulting firm Avalere Health.
By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - As the U.S. Supreme Court takes on a make-or-break Obamacare case this week, a growing number of U.S. patients and their doctors are already devising a Plan B in case they lose medical coverage. The Court's ruling, expected by late June, will determine whether millions of Americans will keep receiving federal subsidies to help them pay for private health insurance under President Barack Obama's healthcare law. The White House, which said it is confident the justices will rule in favor of the subsidies that are a key element of Obamacare, said it has no immediate fix if the decision goes the other way. Worried about newly-insured patients such as those who have just begun treatment for cancer or other serious illnesses, they are dusting off playbooks they retired when Obamacare slashed the number of uninsured people.
Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of the government's mass surveillance programs, said on Wednesday he is not being offered a fair trial if he returns to the United States. "I would love to go back and face a fair trial, but unfortunately ... there is no fair trial available, on offer right now," he said in a live question and answer discussion organized by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Ryerson University and the CBC.
Dover police say a traffic stop and pursuit led to a heroin arrest.
A Vietnamese man charged with helping al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen pleaded not guilty in U.S. court on Wednesday to charges that include supporting the group's online propaganda efforts. Minh Quang Pham, 32, who was extradited from the United Kingdom last week, was arraigned in New York on an indictment charging him with providing material support to, and receiving military training from, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. "I have read it before," the soft-spoken Pham told U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, when asked if he had seen the indictment and was aware of the charges against him. Prosecutors said Pham traveled from the United Kingdom to Yemen in December 2010 and took an oath of allegiance to the militant group, which the United States lists as a terrorist organization.