138,000 in La. to keep health care subsidies after SCOTUS ruling
WASHINGTON- 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.
Obama applauded the ruling in a Rose Garden press appearance at the White House. He noted the law has stood against more than 50 attempted repeal votes in Congress and two Supreme Court decisions now, and urged governors in states which hadn't expanded Medicaid yet to do so.
"The Affordable Care Act is here to stay," Obama said.
The outcome is the second major victory for the president 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, and was the key vote to uphold the law in 2012. Justice Anthony Kennedy also voted with his more liberal colleagues in today's ruling.
Writing for the majority Roberts said, "Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them."
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia noted in his dissent that his colleagues have now twice stepped in to save the law from what Scalia considered worthy challenges, and said they should start calling the law "SCOTUScare."
Democrats joined the president in a victory lap after the ruling. Speaking on the Senate floor Minority Leader Harry Reid said that it's time for Congress and Republicans to move on and stop wasting time voting to try and repeal the law. The Nevada Democrat was one of the party leaders who worked to ensure passage of the law in 2010.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi also released a statement saying "Today, for the second time, the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act. This is a victory for common sense and for all American families. It is long past time for Republicans to abandon their assault on the newfound health security that the Affordable Care Act is providing millions and millions of Americans across the country."
Republicans continued to voice opposition to the Affordable Care Act. GOP presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee called the Supreme Court decision "tyrannical," and lawsuits are still working their way through the legal system challenging other aspects of the ACA, such as insurance company payouts to offset lowered rates and coverage of women's contraceptives.
House Speaker John Boehner said they will keep trying to repeal it, and replace it with what he calls "patient-centered solutions that meet the needs of seniors, small business owners, and middle-class families."
Nationally, 10.2 million people have signed up for health insurance under the Obama health overhaul. That includes the 8.7 million people who are receiving an average subsidy of $272 a month to help pay their insurance premiums. Of those receiving subsidies, 6.4 million people were at risk of losing that aid because they live in states that did not set up their own health insurance exchanges.
In Louisiana, nearly 138,000 will continue to receive federal subsidies because of the ruling. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated premiums would have jumped 347 in the state if the court ruled against the tax credits.
Low- and middle-class families in Louisiana receive an average of $323 per month to help cover insurance costs according to Kaiser.