WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 25, 2015) -- The Supreme Court has upheld Affordable Care Act subsidies in a key decision Thursday.
The 6-3 decision essentially saves Obamacare and prevents a feared "death spiral" for insurance premiums. The ruling means people in states without their own exchanges can still get federal subsidies for health care. Had the high court ruled against the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans--including some 160,000 low and middle income Hoosiers--would have lost subsidies to help them pay for insurance.
Chief Justice John Roberts and justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the majority opinion, while justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.
In the majority opinion, the court wrote, "Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter."
Indiana Sen. Dan Coats issued a statement Thursday expressing disappointment in the decision:
“I am deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court has decided in favor of the terribly flawed Obamacare law. Millions of Americans will now be forced to continue under a poorly-written and poorly-executed law that is not working for the overwhelming majority of Hoosiers. The law’s continued unpopularity is testament to what it has meant for most American families – rising premiums, higher costs and decreased choices.
“It is now clear that it will take a new occupant of the White House to repeal and replace Obamacare. I will continue the fight to work on real health care solutions that lower costs, increase coverage and put patients in charge of their own health care decisions.”
Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly hailed the decision:
“Today, millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Hoosiers have access to affordable health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act. People like Laura Hays of Fort Wayne, Martha Robinson of Evansville, and Aidan Robinson of Greenfield have health insurance for the first time or have affordable health insurance thanks to the law. Their stories demonstrate one of the most important reasons why we reformed our nation’s health insurance system: we are a stronger country when our friends and neighbors have access to affordable health insurance instead of relying on the emergency room for care.
“I am pleased that the Supreme Court decided in favor of what we in Congress intended: every American—no matter where you live—should have access to affordable health care. Today’s ruling means that Laura, Martha, and Aidan, along with tens of thousands of other Hoosiers, will continue to enjoy the peace of mind of having affordable health insurance.”
John Zody, chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, also released a statement on the decision:
“Today, many Hoosiers can breathe easier knowing they will not lose the health care coverage they depend on each day. The Supreme Court’s opinion on King v. Burwell reaffirms what we already know – commonsense ideas that improve the lives of everyday folks, including Hoosiers, will always win. The fact is, the Affordable Care Act solves many of the problems Hoosiers faced when they tried to obtain quality and affordable health insurance. Whether it was a preexisting condition, a person’s age, or access to affordable prescription drugs, many families were one bad stroke of luck from crippling debt, bankruptcy, or worse.
"Fortunately, access to affordable healthcare will continue, and it’s my hope that those who refused to give up the fight of denying coverage to those who need it will now come to the table to work on commonsense solutions that will unite and improve the lives of our hardworking American families. This includes Governor Pence – for he has wasted taxpayer money for over five years as a congressman and now as Indiana’s governor fighting a law that’s proven to be constitutional in the United States. Any other course of action now is simply unacceptable to Hoosiers.”
Doug Leonard, president of the Indiana Hospital Association, said Indiana hospitals are "breathing a collective sigh of relief" after the ruling:
“Hundreds of thousands of our patients with moderate to lower incomes will continue to have access to tax credits and subsidies that make health coverage affordable. Our members look forward to continuing the statewide effort of connecting the uninsured with options through HIP 2.0 and the federal Marketplace. As more individuals gain the security of health coverage, Indiana will reap the benefits of a healthier workforce and population.”