BREAKING: Supreme Court upholds subsidies in King v. Burwell

BREAKING: Supreme Court upholds subsidies in King v. Burwell

By Lisa Schencker, Modern Healthcare | June 25, 2015

Insurance premium subsidies will continue to flow to Americans in all states under the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Supreme Court decided 6-3 in King v. Burwell on Monday.

The justices sided with the Obama administration in the historic decision, saying the healthcare law allows Americans in all states—not just those that established their own exchanges—to receive the subsidies.

An estimated 6.4 million Americans receive the subsidies in the 34 states that don’t have their own exchanges, in many cases relying on them to afford their health insurance, according to HHS.

Many had worried a decision in the opposite direction would lead to a dramatic spike in the nation’s uninsured and the disintegration of the healthcare law itself.

The challengers in the case pointed to one part of the law that says subsidies are available only to those who enroll through an “exchange established by the state.” The federal government, however, argued that the law’s purpose is clear in allowing Americans in every state to be eligible for subsidies and that other parts of the law indicate that.

The Internal Revenue Service has interpreted the law to allow subsidies in all states, but the four individual plaintiffs in the case said that interpretation was wrong. The Supreme Court disagreed with those plaintiffs Monday.

Last summer, a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in Virginia unanimously ruled in favor of the administration in King v. Burwell, saying subsidies should be allowed in all 50 states.

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