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US Supreme Court Rules to Uphold Obamacare Subsidies

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By Phil Cohen

President Obama’s health care reforms have been a hot topic of conversation for the past several years. Most notably, when he began his campaign for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as ‘Obamacare’, after claiming that health care “is not a privilege for a few but a right for all.” Obamacare has been the subject of mass scrutiny as it threatened a political breaking point between democrats and republicans. The law was designed to increase the affordability and quality of health insurance and expand public insurance coverage to nearly all citizens. Furthermore, it developed new minimum standards for insurance companies to ensure that they cover all applicants and offer equal rates, regardless of pre-existing conditions.

The ACA recently reached the Supreme Court due to a need for clarity on particular clauses. The question surfaced of whether the people in states that relied on the federal insurance exchange rather than their own insurance exchange were eligible for government-based financial aid. There are approximately 6.4 million Americans who rely on federal subsidies in order to pay for their health care that may have been in serious financial trouble if the ruling had gone against them. Fortunately, Chief Justice Roberts announced yesterday that the ruling has been upheld and that everyone already receiving insurance subsidies could continue to receive them.

The decision was monumental for the Obama administration, as it marks the president’s most significant piece of legislation. Although Obamacare has most prominently been criticized by Republicans, yesterday’s ruling may have been a victory for them as well. If the Supreme Court had ruled against the continuation of federal subsidies, Republicans would have been left with the daunting task of determining how to handle the 6.4 million people left without healthcare, a solution that has evaded them up to this point.

Additionally, the cessation of the subsidies would have caused a serious economic dilemma as the only people who would have continued their health care would be the most sickly, costly patients. The states that have been relying on the federal insurance exchange are the states where people have needed those subsidies the most. States that have developed their own exchanges see about 80% of people within their exchange receive government subsidies, while that figure for states without their own exchange is nearly 90%.

Oddly enough, most of those states have Republican governors and senators. As southern states, they hold some of the poorest populations in the country, however they have not created their own exchanges simply because it would somehow symbolize their support of the ACA and Obama. Again, we must speculate to what would have happened if the law had not been upheld. Millions of people would have been furious—and rightfully so as they would have been left without funding for their healthcare—but, who would they point their finger at? Their president for failing to keep a promise of providing health care coverage? Or, their respective state governments for letting their political ego get in the way of their well-being?

Needless to say, the triumph of the Affordable Care Act is a huge victory for the Obama administration and our country as a whole. It has survived several crucial challenges and has proven its intention to improve health care for all.

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Phil Cohen

About the author

Philip Cohen is the founder and President of PRN Funding, LLC. PRN Funding is an extraordinarily focused niche player in healthcare funding. With years of…... Read More

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