Politicians Win, Public Loses: Supreme Court Upholds Obama’s Health-Law SubsidiesPosted: June 25, 2015
Presidential Legacy Preserved, Achievement Enshrined: After Trash-Talking Supreme Court and Insulting its Integrity, Obama Reverses Course, Celebrates Wisdom of Court
WASHINGTON — Brent Kendall and Louise Randofsky report: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Obama administration can continue to subsidize health-insurance purchases by lower-income Americans across the country, a decision that preserves a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act.
The ruling marks the second time President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement has survived a near-death experience in the courts, and leaves the law on a firmer footing for the remainder of his time in office.
The court ruled contested language in the 2010 health-care law allows the administration to offer subsidies in the form of tax credits to people in all states, including those who buy health coverage on the federal insurance site HealthCare.gov.
Roughly 6.5 million Americans in around three dozen states stood to lose credits if the Supreme Court had ruled against the administration. The court was deciding whether the tax credits could only go to people in the minority of states running their own online insurance marketplaces, where people compare policies and apply for coverage.
At issue was language in the Affordable Care Act that says insurance subsidies are available for coverage purchased on an insurance-exchange “established by the state.”
The Obama administration argued the entire structure and design of the law made clear its purpose was to extend affordable coverage nationwide.
Challengers who sued the administration—four residents of Virginia—argued the wording of the law authorized insurance subsidies only when an individual buys coverage on a state-run insurance site.That legal question was crucial for the fate of the health-care law because most states didn’t create their own insurance exchanges and chose to rely on the federal marketplace instead…(read more)
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