In the second major court win for President Obama on his signature health care law, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld ObamaCare subsidies in states that did not set up their own health care exchanges, Fox News reports.
The decision was 6-3.
A ruling against the administration would have threatened subsidies in nearly three-dozen states. For months, though, the administration said it had no back-up plans, confident the Supreme Court would rule in its favor.
The Supreme Court previously upheld the law’s individual mandate in 2012, in a 5-4 decision.
This time, the justices said the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, under the 2010 health care law.
The Beacon Center of Tennessee issued this statement about the ruling:
Today, the Supreme Court determined that the IRS’s interpretation of the subsidy provision of the Affordable Care Act was lawful. Even though the plain wording of the Act provides that tax subsidies are available only for individuals who enroll “through an Exchange established by the State,” the IRS interpreted this provision to apply equally to states like Tennessee, where the federal government operates the exchange.
This decision underscores the need to continue working to make healthcare more affordable, effective, and protected from the arbitrary decisions of the IRS. It also means that thousands of small businesses and low-income Tennesseans who opt out of purchasing insurance will continue to be penalized by fines stemming from the individual and employer mandates—a scenario that could have been prevented if the Court had overturned the IRS rule.
Beacon CEO and attorney Justin Owen stated, “Despite the ruling today, we must find ways to make healthcare more accessible to all Tennesseans. Allowing the IRS to change the law to apply subsidies and penalties in states with no exchange means that the true cost of healthcare will continue to be disguised from consumers and shifted to someone else.”
Owen went on to note, “Obamacare has been proven to be unaffordable, unworkable, and unfair. We should not invite further consequences of this already failing law into our state by expanding Medicaid. Instead we should focus on real solutions that will help all Tennesseans obtain quality healthcare and the insurance plan they like. Examples include repealing the costly insurance mandate for all Americans, expanding charity care, embracing innovations such as telemedicine, and reforming the existing Medicaid program for those truly in need.”