Supreme Court upholds nationwide health care law subsidies

FILE - In this March 27, 2012 file photo, Amy Brighton from Medina, Ohio, who opposes health care reform, holds a sign in front of the Supreme Court in Washington during a rally as the court continues arguments on the health care law signed by President Barack Obama. Most Americans want the Supreme Court to side with the government when it decides whether the feds can continue subsidizing insurance premiums in all 50 states under President Barack Obama’s health care law, according to polls in recent months. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

The justices said in a 6-3 ruling Thursday that the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, under the 2010 health care law.

DOCUMENT: King v. Burwell ruling 

The outcome is the second major victory for Obama in politically charged Supreme Court tests of his most significant domestic achievement.

Chief Justice John Roberts again voted with his liberal colleagues in support of the law. Roberts also was the key vote to uphold the law in 2012.

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Justice Anthony Kennedy also voted with his more liberal colleagues.

Here are statements from Virginia lawmakers and organizations following the Supreme Court’s decision.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe:

“This historic decision is a victory for the 286,000 Virginians who will now keep affordable health care that is essential to economic success. It is also a clear sign that now is the time to drop cynical efforts to prevent families from accessing care that will make their lives better. With this issue decided, I hope we can now put partisan politics aside and help 400,000 Virginians get access to health care by bringing our taxpayer dollars home to close the coverage gap.”

Sen. Mark Warner:

“Today’s 6-3 decision preserves affordable health care coverage for more than 300,000 Virginians who purchased coverage through the federal exchange. This is the second time the nation’s highest court has validated our country’s important shift  toward affordable and accessible health care for everyone. I consistently have said there are many ways we could improve the Affordable Care Act. I really hope today’s ruling allows us as a country to move beyond divisive attacks and come together to work to improve health care quality, access, and affordability.”

Lt. Governor Ralph Northam:

“As your Lieutenant Governor and as a practicing physician, I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision on the King v. Burwell case, which will mean that more than 285,000 Virginians will continue to receive uninterrupted tax credits to make their coverage affordable. While this is good news for the individuals who have been able to purchase insurance on the exchange, Virginia has yet to figure out how to close the coverage gap and make coverage affordable for the more than 400,000 individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid or the tax subsidies on the exchange. Closing the coverage gap should be the top priority for state policymakers in the coming year.”

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford):

(in part) “The Affordable Care Act remains deeply flawed and today’s Supreme Court decision does not change that. Virginia families and businesses have seen firsthand the impacts of Obamacare: fewer hours for part-time workers, cancelled plans, skyrocketing premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs. The Court’s decision today provides no prescription for these ills.”

Democratic Party of Virginia:

“Virginia Democrats are thrilled that Republicans failed in their effort to take away healthcare from nearly 300,000 Virginians,” said Chairwoman Susan Swecker. “Unfortunately, another 400,000 Virginians are still uninsured because Republicans are standing in the way of Medicaid expansion. We hope today’s ruling causes Republicans to wake up and join Democrats in our fight for affordable healthcare for all Virginians.”

Virginia Republican Party:

“Today’s disappointing Supreme Court ruling shows the clear importance of holding our majority in the Virginia State Senate and the upcoming 2016 Presidential elections. ObamaCare was crafted, passed, and implemented on a purely party-line basis. The Supreme Court has kept this destructive law alive, continuing the struggle for families and businesses across America to grapple with this unsound and unaffordable legislation. Republicans are going to continue offering solutions to expand health care options while keeping health care costs down – to truly make quality health care accessible once again. It appears the clear path to ending ObamaCare is a Republican President and a Republican Congress in 2016.”

Congressman Randy Forbes (VA-04):

“Today’s decision doesn’t change how dysfunctional and destabilizing Obamacare has been to our country’s healthcare system. Moving forward,  it is crucial that Congress reframes the conversation over the federal government’s proper role in healthcare. Americans don’t need bureaucrats with “government knows best” attitudes micromanaging their healthcare. They need their government working to facilitate collaboration between patients, businesses, insurers, and providers so every citizen is empowered with a variety of affordable free market options to fit their unique needs. We owe it to this country and to our children to get America’s healthcare system back on a path that puts every patient above politics.”

Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association:

“This decision protects vital access to health care for millions of Americans, including nearly 400,000 Virginians, who have purchased insurance through a federally-facilitated health benefits exchange. While reasonable people can disagree on health care policy solutions, there is broad consensus about the need to enable more Americans to access affordable health care. Given that this United States Supreme Court ruling affirms the legality of Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies, we must move forward to achieve the shared goal of availing more Americans to high quality health care through private insurance market plans. With this decision past us, the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is optimistic that federal and state lawmakers can work cooperatively on health care policy that ensures that more Americans have access to our country’s top-flight health care system. VHHA stands ready to work with all parties to that end.”

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