The U.S. Court of Appeals' Halbig v Burwell decision has forced the country to ask an important question: were subsidies originally intended to flow only through the state run exchanges?

The law itself explicitly says that the state-run exchanges are supposed to funnel the subsidies, but the Obama administration is insistent that the "intent" of the lawmakers is what should be taken into account by the Supreme Court when this case inevitably gets there (I say inevitably because there are Court of Appeals decisions aside from Halbig that had different outcomes).

If subsidies don't roll through federal exchanges, that could mean a big setback both for the law, and for those that purchase using subsidies in states with federal exchanges (i.e. Baucus' home state of Montana).

So, the question remains, what was the intent of the drafters of the Affordable Care Act? They may tell you differently today, but two of the leading lights of the ACA: Senator Max Baucus of Montana and Economist/Architect of ACA Jonathan Gruber, both interpreted the intent of the law to direct subsidies only through state exchanges. Don't believe me? Roll tape.