U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of ObamaCare
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday morning that the subsidies provided through federally-run ObamaCare exchanges are lawful.
The 6-3 decision in King v. Burwell is being touted as a “major win” for the Obama administration’s signature, and most controversial legislation.
Thirty-four states currently rely on the federal marketplace, had the Supreme Court ruled the other way the entire law would have been hobbled nearly to the point of ineffectiveness.
SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the court’s liberals in rendering the decision.
“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Roberts wrote as author of the majority opinion.
Justice Antonin Scalia, in his dissent, quipped that the law should now be known as “SCOTUSCare,” after the court has now twice upheld its more murky portions.
Scalia’s dissenting opinion slammed his colleagues who voted to uphold the law.
“The Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available only on an ‘Exchange established by the State.’ This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere….The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (‘penalty’ means tax, ‘further [Medicaid] payments to the State’ means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, ‘established by the State’ means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”
From Alabama Governor Robert Bentley: “Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court is disappointing. As the law is clearly written, subsidies do not apply to states that did not establish a state-based health insurance exchange. With today’s decision, the Supreme Court became an activist court by rewriting the law, clearly overstepping the role of the Judicial Branch to interpret the law. The Supreme Court had an opportunity to repair what I, as a physician, have always believed, that the Affordable Care Act is deeply flawed and does nothing to help improve the health of our citizens. As a physician and Governor of one of the 34 states that did not establish a state-based healthcare exchange, I agree with Justice Scalia in his dissent that States are clearly not the federal government and that definition of a state shouldn’t be rewritten for the purpose of this law. I believe the ACA is, at its core, enormously expensive for families and businesses and does little to address the health care issues we face in our state and nation.”
From Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL): “The Supreme Court’s Obamacare acrobatics should dispel for good the comforting illusion that we can rely on judges to save us. Whether on socialized medicine, executive amnesty, or any other action which erodes our Constitution and the powers of Congress, conservatives will have to rally the everyday voting citizen. There is no greater power than winning the trust and loyalty of the American people. We will need to put down the donor agenda, pick up the banner of the American worker, and carry it to victory.”
From Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL7): “The Supreme Court has once again affirmed that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is a victory for the 132,000 Alabamians who will be able to keep their health insurance, including 17,000 of my constituents in the 7th Congressional District.”
From Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL1): “Today’s ruling does not change the fact that Obamacare is an unworkable law that is hurting far too many families across Southwest Alabama and the United States. I will continue to push for a full repeal of the law and work toward patient-centered health care solutions that aren’t run by the federal government.”
From Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL4): “This decision today has been disappointing and surprising to so many of us on Capitol Hill. The Supreme Court continues to see gray when it comes to the black letter of the law as written in Obamacare’s base text in the Affordable Care Act. If you look at the way the Democrats actually wrote the law, it seems to be very clear that subsidies were not available for those in the federal exchanges. This was not a typo. The language was written as it was written.
“I think that everyone agrees that our healthcare system needed changes and improvements. However, this was a typical bureaucratic, overreaching approach to a situation that did not need to be nearly as complicated.”
From Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL6): “I’ve long been an advocate for repealing this unworkable and unaffordable law. Today’s decision by SCOTUS makes it even more imperative that Congress work to fully repeal it.”
From Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL2): “So many people across the nation and throughout Alabama have been negatively affected by this law. Under Obamacare, many lost the health plans they liked. Many were forced to go to different doctors, to say nothing of the doctors who stopped practicing altogether. Premiums skyrocketed, and many middle class families are now impacted by new taxes, fees and penalties.
“I have repeatedly voted to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered health care that isn’t run by the government. This ruling does not change my commitment to working to replace the president’s health care law with policies that make sense. It does show how important it is for us to elect a president who will uphold the rule of law and appoint Supreme Court justices who will do the same.”
Many conservative leaders spoke out immediately after the ruling was handed down.
“The nightmare continues for America with the United States Supreme Court upholding parts of the wildly unpopular Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare,” said Alabama GOP chairman Terry Lathan. “This destructive legislation forced upon Americans pertaining to their health care and health insurance is an abomination and a plight on our nation. America is the most loving country in the world and our citizens should have access to superb health care, but this legislation is an albatross of government intervention and bureaucracy. It has little to do with care and mostly to do with more legislative strangleholds and controlling our daily lives.”
“By granting legal status to Obamacare’s illegal subsidies, the Supreme Court made clear Americans cannot rely on the courts to save us from the law,” said Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham. “The Republican Party — the party of full repeal — must make the case to every American that they will repeal the law come 2017 and replace it with a plan that drives down the cost of health insurance for all Americans.”
This article will be updated with more information and reactions as they become available.