Supreme Court Upholds ACA's Insurance Subsidies

Author: Steve Winn
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In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court last week ruled that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows government subsidies for individuals who purchase health insurance on federal exchanges in states that don’t set up their own exchanges.

Opponents of the law had focused on a poorly worded phrase in it that they said invalidated the subsidies. But the court’s majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., cited overall congressional intent in passing the 2010 legislation.

President Obama welcomed the decision, saying the ACA is “here to stay.” Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner, however, said they would continue to oppose it. House Republicans have repeated voted to repeal all or parts of the law.

Full repeal would affect government spending and revenue in various ways, but the CBO recently projected that the net result would be to increase deficits by $137 billion over the next decade and by even more after that.

The Concord Coalition has urged lawmakers who want changes in the law to make sure they would not increase the federal debt or undermine cost-control efforts.

Earlier last week, the House voted to repeal the ACA’s provision for an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) that would issue cost-cutting proposals if Medicare spending rose too quickly. Obama has threatened to veto the House measure.

The IPAB is an important backstop against the possibility that health care inflation, which has moderated in recent years, could return to historical levels.

External links:
Supreme Court’s ACA Ruling
President’s Comments on the Decision
Speaker Boehner’s Comments on the Decision
CBO Says Repealing ACA Could Boost Deficits (Concord)
House Votes to Kill Medicare Savings Panel (AP)

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