Thursday, June 25, 2015

SUPREME COURT SAVES OBAMACARE: SHOULD WE BE HAPPY?

The language in the ACA restricted subsidies to state-run exchanges. Since only 17 states ran their own exchanges. The federal government took over for the states opting out of running their own exchanges. The people enrolled in Obamacare in these remaining states would lose their subsidies if the Supreme Court upheld the restriction. The Supreme Court announced its decision today:

According to CNBC:
In a major decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in a 6-3 decision that the federal subsidies that help nearly 6.4 million people pay for their Obamacare health plans are legal under the Affordable Care Act.
The ruling avoids what many analysts predicted would be a nightmare scenario if the plaintiffs had won: individual plan insurance prices skyrocketing in two-thirds of the United States, and the loss of health coverage for upwards of 8 million people in states served by the federal insurance marketplace HealthCare.gov by next year.
"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority decision.
In its ruling in the case known as King v. Burwell, the high court accepted the administration’s argument that the ACA allows federal tax credits to be issued to people who buy health plans through a federally run Obamacare exchange.
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the dissent, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

According to CNN:
Seated right next to the Chief Justice, Scalia proceeded to eviscerate his reasoning. He reeled off a string of unflattering descriptions about the ruling, calling it "wonderfully convenient," complaining about "interpretative jiggery-pokery" and arguing it was not the Court's job to make up for the sloppy drafting of the law by Congress.
Roberts heard the dissent throughout without giving a visible reaction until Scalia quipped that the law should be called SCOTUScare, causing the Chief Justice to chuckle and sending laughter through the public galleries.

Not surprisingly, republican candidates Mark Rubio and Jeb Bush are not happy with this ruling and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is pleased. What about the rest of us? Should we be happy with the decision? Even with subsidies, Obamacare is not affordable for many, has privacy issues, is costly to run, inflates medical costs, makes insurance companies rich, increases paperwork for time-strapped doctors, and many other problems to long to list. If we can only get rid of the insurance companies and fix Obamacare's many other problems, then maybe it has a chance of survival long-term. Maybe.    

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