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Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Affordable Care Act

U.S. Supreme Court
Creative Commons

The United States Supreme Court, Thursday, upheld federal tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, preserving health insurance for millions of Americans, including thousands of Ohioans. 

In a six to three vote, U.S. Supreme Court Justices allowed Ohioans, and people in other states who use the federal exchange, to continue to receive subsidies for health insurance mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

At issue was a clause in the law that said subsidies are available to people through “an exchange established by the state.” The question was whether people who use the federal exchange could receive the credits.

Ohio Association of Foodbanks runs a program which helps people buy insurance through the federal exchange. Its executive director Lisa Hamler-Fugitt said the ruling, “Affirms the intent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which is to connect individuals to health insurance options.”

As many as 160,000 Ohioans receive subsidies through the federal exchange. Hamler-Fugitt added retaining the tax credits keeps the playing field level for them.

“This has been a lifeline for so many Ohioans and Americans, many who work every day, but work in low-wage, part-time jobs, and work for employers who can’t or won’t provide health insurance coverage," she said. 

Some health care advocacy groups, which support the law, estimated monthly premiums would have increased by nearly $400 if the Supreme Court had not upheld the subsidies.  

Following the ruling, President Obama said his health care law is “here to stay.”

But republicans vow to continue their fight against it.

U.S. Senator Rob Portman told reporters, in a conference call, that the law should be repealed.

“I don’t think this particular legal decision changes the bad policy.”

But Portman acknowledged any progress made by republicans likely won’t happen during the Obama Administration.

When asked if this Congress is wasting time to continue its efforts to repeal the law, Portman answered, “I don’t know that it’s a waste of time because I think the debate is important to have, and I think the debate will go on, as I said earlier. And it’s appropriately to talk about it specifically. You know, what are the problems and then what are some of the potential solutions?”

And that debate Portman mentions surely will continue as the 2016 presidential election moves forward.