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The ACA Ruling: What Does It All Mean?
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The ruling:

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a vote of 3-6 in the King v. Burwell case. Ok, but what does that mean?

 

What is the whole lawsuit about?

First a little background: the ACA provides health insurance to people who have no other source of coverage. It allows the federal government the ability to run exchanges in states that do not run their own. It also provides subsidies to people who meet the income requirement.

The case was brought before the Supreme Court to challenge the ACA. It argued that the ACA places a burden on the states to create their own insurance marketplace because subsidies are only authorized through state exchanges.

The debate goes back to the 2012 IRS ruling that allowed federal exchanges to provide subsidies. The ruling was made because it was clear that most states were not establishing their own exchanges. King was arguing that this was illegal.

The Obama Administration countered this claim in declaring that the ACA makes subsidies available in all exchanges, and it does not matter who operates them.

 

Who challenged the government?

King, the plaintiff, represented 4 Virginians who were under the subsidy income requirement. They argued that without the subsidies they would not have to purchase insurance.

 

Why does this case matter? How does it impact the future?

The case deals with two major components of the ACA: the guaranteed availability of health insurance and the individual mandate.

8 million people would lose health insurance if the Supreme Court ruled against the government and overturned subsidies.

 

Which states would be impacted?

Any state that did not establish its own market place.

 

How did the court rule?

The Court agreed with the Obama Administration because it would not make sense to have a system where insurance markets would not function in states without their own exchanges. Justice Roberts wrote the ruling and was joined by Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonya Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

 

Ok, So now what?

For now there is no need to worry because the ACA is secure. Well, at least until 2017 when the election of a new President could change the healthcare landscape again.