Supreme Court Upholds Nationwide Availability of Tax Subsidies Under the Affordable Care Act.

According to CNN, on June 25, 2015, the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision, ruling, as a practical matter, that the Affordable Care Act will be saved.  The Supreme Court ruled on the issue of whether the law only applied to subsidiaries set up by the states themselves or also those set up by the federal government.  The ruling allows for the federal government to provide nationwide tax subsidies to assist poor and middle-class Americans to buy health insurance.  People who live in the 34 states that use the federal insurance marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act may continue to receive subsidies in the form of tax credits.  Challengers of the Affordable Care Act believe, that in this situation, subsidies should be available only in the states that have set up their own marketplaces.

The opposite decision could have affected approximately 6 to 9 million Americans.  If these subsidies were eliminated, people with serious medical problems would have to pay premiums that might increase an average of approximately 170%.  For example, in Illinois, a state that uses the marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act, people currently pay premiums of $128 after subsidies.  If the Supreme Court sided with the challengers, their premiums would have skyrocketed to $336.

The Affordable Care Act has gone before the Supreme Court two times in the past three years.  Three years ago, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional by a 5-4 vote, which is an even slimmer margin.

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