The Affordable Care Act survived a second challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday morning.
Justices ruled 6-3 in the King vs Burwell case to uphold the federal government’s right to provide health coverage subsidies to people in states that rely on the federal insurance exchange.
Chief Justice John Roberts authored the opinion for the majority, “In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. Our role is more confined — ‘to say what the law is.’…That is easier in some cases than in others. But in every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan. 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.”
Justice Antonin Scalia did not hold back in his dissent, stating Obamacare should be renamed SCOTUScare.
“The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says ‘Exchange established by the State’ it means ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.’ That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so.”
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services issued a statement stating the SCOTUS ruling will not impact on rated U.S. not-for-profit and for-profit providers. The subsidized exchange business is proving itself beneficial to U.S. health care providers, the rating service stated.
Edmond Democrat Tom Guild said Oklahomans who have been holding their breath can now exhale after the 6-3 vote.
“Millions of moderate and low income Americans have health care coverage for the first time in their lives, because of the ACA,” said Guild, a former candidate for the Congressional 5th District.
The Oklahoma Policy Institute released a statement that the Supreme Court decision is a victory for tens of thousands of Oklahomans and millions of Americans.
“The Affordable Care Act’s subsidies are helping more than 87,000 Oklahomans purchase affordable health coverage and making Oklahoma a stronger, healthier state, according to the institute.
U.S. Sen. James Lankford of Edmond has maintained his opposition to the Affordable Care Act since it was first argued in Congress.
“Obamacare continues to be a nightmare for millions of Americans who are facing higher premiums, higher deductibles, and fewer health care options,” Lankford remarked.
Lankford said the court’s decision will make it difficult to interpret the law. The ambiguity of the law will cause more problems in years to come, he added.
“The court ruled that because the text of the law is ‘inartful’ in other areas, they assumed it was also inartful related to the state exchange,” Lankford said.
The depth of Obamacare’s problems are more serious than drafting errors, he said.
“I am disappointed the Supreme Court ignored the clear writing of the law,” said Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe of Tulsa. “By doing this, the Court is allowing subsidies to be awarded on federally established exchanges, further preserving the law.”
Inhofe said the Supreme Court made clear Americans cannot rely on the courts to end the ACA. The Republican Party will work to repeal the law come 2017 and replace it with a plan that drives down the cost of health insurance, Inhofe said.
Gov. Mary Fallin said King vs Burwell will burden taxpayers and disrupt the lives of Americans.