The Affordable Care Act survived its second major Supreme Court test Thursday, with the justices ruling 6-3 to uphold the law’s nationwide tax subsidies.
Opponents of Obamacare noted the law stipulates that people could get subsidies only when they signed up with health exchanges established at the state level – or as the law says “established by the state.”
They argued that that phrase cannot refer to exchanges established by the federal Health and Human Services Department, which oversees healthcare.gov.
But the court found the subsidies currently received by 8.7 million people are valid everywhere, including states that did not set up their own exchanges.
As he did in the first challenge to the law in 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts again voted with his liberal colleagues.”Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “The Act gives each State the opportunity to establish its own exchange, but provides that the federal government will establish the exchange if the state does not.”
Justice Antonin Scalia, however, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, issued a blistering dissent.
“Today’s interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of,” he wrote. “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”
Meanwhile, Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which filed an amicus brief challenging Obamacare, called the court’s decision “disappointing and troubling.”
“Unfortunately, the majority of the court failed to apply the law as written,” he said. “The Court instead rewrote the law, something it did not have the constitutional power to do.”
“It is troubling that the high court backed the Obama administration’s overreach in its ongoing effort to rewrite or suspend portions of the ACA (Affordable Care Act), in violation of the separation of powers,” he added. “The court clearly over stepped its authority.”
VERSE: “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD” Psalm 150
QUOTE: “A person who loves his job, will never work a day in his life.”
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