Supreme Court Upholds ACA Subsidies in King v. Burwell

Originally published in the July 1, 2015 issue of MGMA’s Washington Connection
Reprinted with permission from MGMA

Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld, by a six to three vote, the use of subsidies to individuals on federally facilitated health insurance exchanges. The Court concluded Congress had intended to allow subsidies to individuals on federally facilitated health insurance exchanges when it passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) five years ago. If the subsidies are not available across the nation, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority, it would bring about “the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid.” It was clear that the outcome had been driven in considerable part because the majority had accepted the centrality of the subsidy scheme to the law as a whole, and had found persuasive the dire predictions of the Administration and the potentially impacted states and consumers. As Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.” The outcome of this case does not change how the ACA will continue to be implemented and individuals will continue to receive subsidies. The full opinion can be found here.


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