Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare Subsidies

| by Sean Kelly

In a much-anticipated ruling, the Supreme Court voted that the federal subsidies that help people pay for Obamacare healthcare plans are legal. The ruling prevented insurance prices from rising significantly in two-thirds of the country and more than eight million people nationwide losing health coverage.

The key provision of the Affordable Care Act that the Supreme Court upheld in their ruling was regarding federal subsidies. Challengers of Obamacare argued that the plan only allowed subsidies to be used in marketplaces "established by the state," effectively excluding those on the federal marketplace, The Hill reports.

However, those arguing in favor of Obamacare noted that the opposition was taking the phrase out of context and that subsidies were clearly intended to be applicable in all states.

The majority of Supreme Court members agreed with this point, ending the years-long challenge from conservatives.

“The combination of no tax credits and an ineffective coverage requirement could well push a State's individual insurance market into a death spiral. It is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate in this manner,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his decision.

“The argument that the phrase 'established by the State' would be superfluous if Congress meant to extend tax credits to both State and Federal Exchanges is unpersuasive," he added.

Justice Antonin Scalia, as well as justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, opposed to upholding subsidies, resulting in a 6-3 vote. 

“We should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” Scalia wrote in his dissent.

Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the swing vote in decisions, and four liberal justices ruled in favor of the decision.

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Roberts wrote. “If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

Sources: YahooCNBCThe Hill

Photo Credit: cnbc.com, keanradio.com