In a key ruling related to the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, June 25, that tax subsidies to help qualified individuals buy health insurance are available to all Americans, regardless of whether their state has established a state exchange. The New York Times said, “The 6-to-3 ruling means that it is all but certain that the Affordable Care Act will survive after Mr. Obama leaves office in 2017, and has a greater chance of becoming an enduring part of America’s social safety net.”
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the opinion for the six-justice majority. He said “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.” In a firm dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia called the majority’s reasoning “quite absurd” and “interpretive jiggery-pokery.”
Nineteen public health school deans, joined by various chairs and faculty members, had submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the case. The brief supported the Administration’s position that subsidies can be obtained by otherwise qualified citizens using the federal health care exchange if their home states have not created state exchanges.