King v. Burwell Sides With The Affordable Care Act

President Obama’s signature health care law survived a second challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday, and the Justices ruled by a margin of 6 to 3 that the intent of Congress was clear enough to override contradictory language in law itself.

Time writes that the decision was a major win for Democrats and the President, who would have faced the difficult task of negotiating a fix to the law with Republicans if they didn’t win the court case.  The court decided that a specific clause in the law validated tax subsidies for millions of Americans.

That negotiation could have resulted in either a collapse of the health insurance reforms in a majority of states, or a significant paring back of their reach, according to Time.

At issue was a clause in the law that stated that federal tax subsidies for health insurance purchases were only available in insurance marketplaces that had been set up by states as opposed to the federal government.


One thought on “King v. Burwell Sides With The Affordable Care Act

  1. This is one of those issues I really struggle with. The reality is that the ACA was poorly drafted in the context of this particular issue. And courts really aren’t supposed to rescue Congress from poor draftsmanship. That said, I also think there was never an intent to limit the subsidies to State exchanges. I think.

    In reality the ACA and this particular issue reveals just how horrible the legislative process is, particularly in a world like today’s in which our country is so divided. Make a mistake a few decades ago in drafting legislation and there would be consensus that it should be fixed. Make a mistake now and it’s used as a means to destroy the other side’s agenda and successes.

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