The Supreme Court has handed President Obama a second victory in his signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ruling that premium subsidies should be available to both federal and state health insurance enrollees despite ACA language saying subsidies would be available only on exchanges “established by the state.”
“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority decision.
Today’s ruling follows a near-death experience for the ACA in 2012 when only a last-minute change of heart by the same Chief Justice John Roberts saved Obamacare from unconstitutionality.
The 6-to-3 decision in King v. Burwell saw only its three most conservative members — Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito — offering up nay votes.
The SCOTUS ruling upholds a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in July 2014 that found the language in the ACA “ambiguous” enough to be subject to “multiple interpretations,” thus preserving the IRS interpretation that subsidies should be available on all health care marketplaces, both federal and state.
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