Supreme Court Lurches Further Left with Obamacare Decision

jhnrbrts-obmChief Justice Roberts for the majority chose to take on Congress’s job, tweaking the Obamacare law to render it semi-coherent.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated ruling in a challenge to Obamacare, King v. Burwell. The high court upheld tax subsidies of the federal insurance exchanges in a 6-3 decision. The lawsuit had challenged the authority of the federal government subsidizing Obamacare exchanges in the 36 states that haven’t set up their own insurance marketplaces. Specifically, it challenged the IRS regulations that provide tax-credit subsidies for coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government at healthcare.gov under Section 1321 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The language in the Act had only authorized subsidies for those participating in state exchanges. The four plaintiffs lived in Virginia, which does not have a state-run exchange, and argued that the federal subsidies were illegal.

The law was written the way it was deliberately as an incentive for the states to develop their own exchanges. But many of the states tried and failed at setting up their own exchanges, while others simply opted out. The court could have struck down the expansive interpretation, and left the language for Congress to fix.

Proponents of Obamacare loudly protested that ending the subsidy would leave millions of lower income people without affordable healthcare. Justice Sonia Sotomayor warned during oral arguments that the plaintiffs’ reading of the law would have devastating consequences. “We’re going to have the death spiral that this system was enacted to avoid,” she said. Of the 10.2 million people who have signed up for Obamacare, 8.7 million receive an average subsidy of $272 a month to help pay their insurance premiums. Those living in states without Obamacare exchanges, 6.4 million, would have lost those subsidies if the court had struck down the subsidies.

Read the rest of the article at The Stream

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