A decision is expected by the Supreme Court at the end of June on the fate of a key feature of the Affordable Care Act (the ACA). The ACA is also known as Obamacare.
If the justices vote in favor of King v. Burwell, it could mean the loss of subsidies for millions of Americans, making their health insurance no longer affordable, writes Yahoo News.
The ACA was passed In 2010. That law allowed for the government to offer subsidies to people who qualified and required health insurance exchanges (marketplaces) to be set up. Thirty-four states opted not to set up their own insurance marketplaces. This meant that the states defaulted to a federal marketplace instead. Subsidies have been provided to those residents.
This case against Obamacare comes down to the actual language of the law, states Yahoo News. It’s being challenged because of a section that details the subsidies as available with policies provided through health insurance “exchanges established by the state.”
Opponents say this language means the federal subsidies do not apply to residents in states using the federal marketplace. On the other side of the debate, proponents argue that these subsidies are covered by the law as it also says that when a state does not set up its own marketplace, the federal government will “establish and operate such exchange.”
The final decision is expected at the end of June and could affect an estimated 6.4 million people who need the subsidies to afford insurance in those 34 states. This is the second time that Obamacare has faced the Supreme Court. In 2012, the individual mandate – the requirement that everyone buy insurance – was challenged, but the justices ruled 5-4 that the mandate was constitutional.