Today, the Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated ruling in King v. Burwell. The case questioned whether individuals who purchased health insurance through the federal Healthcare.gov marketplace were entitled to receive tax subsidies pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or whether such subsidies were reserved for individuals who purchased health insurance through state exchanges. The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that Americans who purchased insurance through the federal exchange could keep the tax subsidies that made their insurance more affordable. Chief Justice John Roberts drafted the majority opinion.
Although the Supreme Court ultimately acknowledged that the letter of the law was ambiguous, they decided that the intent of ACA was for subsidies to be available to individuals who purchased insurance through either a state or federal exchange, thus improving health insurance markets in tandem with access to coverage. The ruling represents a significant victory for both ACA and President Obama and preserves benefits for an estimated 6.5 million Americans. Justice Antonin Scalia drafted the dissent based on a more literal interpretation of ACA’s explicit language, calling the majority’s reasoning “quite absurd.”
The full opinion may be accessed here.