Obamacare: Supreme Court votes to uphold health care assistance to 6.4 million

Supreme Court voted 6-3 to uphold subsidies for millions of Americans

The US Supreme Court has voted to uphold Obamacare, meaning that millions of people will be able to keep their federal subsidies and, less importantly, providing a big win for the Obama administration.

King v Burwell raised the question as to whether states that have the federal government run the health insurance exchange marketplace are eligible for subsidies that help people afford insurance.

In the end, the Supreme Court decided in a 6-3 decision that the people in the 34 states that do not run their own health insurance exchanges can keep receiving subsidies.

Millions of people keep their subsidies

Some 6.4 million people would have lost their health insurance subsidies — and possibly their ability to afford insurance — if the high court ruled that the 34 states that use the federal exchange are ineligible for those subsidies, the New York Times reported.

More than 100,000 others could have lost subsidies in Oregon, Nevada and New Mexico, as those states planned to run their own insurance exchanges, but now use the federal system.

Those without subsidies may have had to pay more for health insurance

A decision against the Obama administration would have impacted more than just the people who receive subsidies — a threshold set at 138 per cent of the poverty level. If older and unhealthier people would have joined the general insurance pool, rates would likely have risen.

Decision would have created a huge gap between states with subsidies and states without

The Urban Institute estimated that if the Supreme Court canned subsidies for states that do not have their own exchanges, those states would have had nearly double the number of uninsured people.

By 2016, the Urban Institute estimates that 15 per cent of people will be uninsured in states that would lose subsides, while just 8 per cent of people would be uninsured in states that would keep subsidies.

Cutting the number of uninsured people was the primary goal of the Affordable Care Act. If the Urban Institute’s forecast were to be realized, it would have dealt a massive blow to the Obama administration.

 

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