The Affordable Care Act, known by many as “Obamacare,” has divided people across the United States, especially politically since it was first introduced.
WASHINGTON, D.C.– President Barack Obama praised the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday to uphold the subsidies in his signature health care law, by recalling all the hurdles the Affordable Care Act has cleared in order to survive. “The Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” Obama said from the White House, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden, adding shortly “Americans would have gone backwards and that’s not what we do, that’s not what America does, we move forward.”
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court saved the controversial health care law that will define President Barack Obama’s administration for generations to come.
The ruling holds that the Affordable Care Act authorized federal tax credits for eligible Americans living not only in states with their own exchanges but also in the 34 states with federal exchanges.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for himself, Justice Anthony Kennedy and the four liberal justices. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the dissent, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”
In a dissent, Scalia said “we should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” referring to the two times the Court has saved the law.
The ruling staved off a major political showdown and what would have been a mad scramble in some states to set up their own health care exchanges to keep millions from losing healthcare coverage.
Challengers to the law argued that the federal government should not be allowed to continue doling out subsidies to individuals living in states without their own health insurance exchanges and a ruling in their favor would have cut off subsidies to 6.4 million Americans, absent a congressional fix or state action.
The ruling is a huge victory for President Barack Obama, who nearly saw four words in the Affordable Care Act throw his signature achievement into chaos.
The income-based subsidies are crucial to the law’s success, helping to make health insurance more affordable and ultimately reducing the number of uninsured Americans, and shutting off the subsidy spigot to individuals in the 34 states that rely on exchanges run by the federal government would have upended the law.
Congress would have had to amend the Affordable Care Act to fix its language that subsidies would be available only to those who purchase insurance on exchanges “established by the state” — a politically treacherous and likely untenable action in a Republican Congress. Alternatively, governors in the 34 states without their own exchanges, most of them Republicans, would have had to establish their own exchanges — another tough ask.
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Article Courtesy of CNN and WJW Fox 8 News Cleveland
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