Supreme Court Upholds Key Provisions of the Affordable Care Act


    Great news (although how did this case even make it to the Supreme Court, and how did three Supreme Court justices – Thomas, Scalia and Alito – vote for this garbage?).

    The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act and agreed with the Obama administration that government subsidies that make health insurance affordable for millions of Americans should be available to all.

    By a 6-3 vote, a divided court affirmed an Internal Revenue Service ruling that the subsidies should be available not only in states that have set up their own health insurance exchanges, but also in states where consumers rely on the federal government exchange.

    Here’s Sen. Kaine’s statement.

    I applaud the Supreme Court for its decision to uphold the important tax credits that millions of Americans – including nearly 300,000 in Virginia – rely on to access high quality, affordable health care. The decision is a direct rejection of the heartless effort led by health care law opponents to push families – many of whom have insurance coverage for the first time – back into the ranks of the vulnerable uninsured.

    A usual, Republicans SHOULD be ashamed of themelves but won’t be.

    • True Blue

      In a commenter’s words, “ACA remains the law of the land.”

    • lowkell

      Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement today after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act in King v. Burwell:

      “This historic decision is a victory for the 286,000 Virginians who will now keep affordable health care that is essential to economic success. It is also a clear sign that now is the time to drop cynical efforts to prevent families from accessing care that will make their lives better. With this issue decided, I hope we can now put partisan politics aside and help 400,000 Virginians get access to health care by bringing our taxpayer dollars home to close the coverage gap.”


    • lowkell

      Access to Affordable Health Care for Millions of Americans, Thousands of Virginians, Protected by Supreme Court Health Insurance Decision

      RICHMOND, VA – Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association President and CEO Sean Connaughton issued the following statement in response to the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in the King vs. Burwell case:

      “This decision protects vital access to health care for millions of Americans, including nearly 400,000 Virginians, who have purchased insurance through a federally-facilitated health benefits exchange. While reasonable people can disagree on health care policy solutions, there is broad consensus about the need to enable more Americans to access affordable health care. Given that this United States Supreme Court ruling affirms the legality of Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies, we must move forward to achieve the shared goal of availing more Americans to high quality health care through private insurance market plans. With this decision past us, the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is optimistic that federal and state lawmakers can work cooperatively on health care policy that ensures that more Americans have access to our country’s top-flight health care system. VHHA stands ready to work with all parties to that end.”

      About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 107 hospitals and 30 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its vision is to achieve excellence in both health care and health.

    • Andy Schmookler

      I am not a constitutional scholar, though I’ve played one in the classroom, and love the field of constitutional history. But I think I know enough about this case to agree with your remark, Lowell, about Scalia, Thomas, and Alito and their votes here to find for the plaintiffs.

      Nothing I’ve read about this case since it first appeared on the horizon has indicated that it had any legal merit. That’s why there was so much shock and alarm that the Court even chose to take the case on. The intent of Congress was as clear as could be, and in a statutory case like this — where constitutionality was not even at issue — that should have settled the matter.

      The Abominable Three here show themselves for the partisan hacks they ultimately are. (Not that long ago, I saw Roberts as cut from the same hypocritical cloth, but it now seems that he has concerns besides partisan advantage.)

      I don’t know how those three perceive themselves and what they are doing with their privileged position on the bench: do they consciously pretend to be doing the job of a Supreme Court Justice, or do they persuade themselves that what their partisan leanings dictate somehow always accords with what the law requires?

      But whatever is the level at which the hypocrisy resides, it is hard to see evidence that these three are playing the role our founders had in mind for those who serve as Supreme Court justices.

    • lowkell

      RICHMOND, VA – Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker released the following statement on today’s Supreme Court ruling that nearly 300,000 Virginians would be able to keep their healthcare:

      “Virginia Democrats are thrilled that Republicans failed in their effort to take away healthcare from nearly 300,000 Virginians,” said Chairwoman Susan Swecker. “Unfortunately, another 400,000 Virginians are still uninsured because Republicans are standing in the way of Medicaid expansion. We hope today’s ruling causes Republicans to wake up and join Democrats in our fight for affordable healthcare for all Virginians.”

    • lowkell


       ~ Herring to hold media conference call at noon…Virginia was the lead on a multistate amicus brief defending affordable healthcare ~

      RICHMOND(June 15, 2015)–Today the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that healthcare affordability assistance under the Affordable Care Act is available for all Americans, whether their state built its own exchange or uses a federally-facilitated one. Attorney General Mark R. Herring took the lead in writing an amicus brief joined by 21 other states and the District of Columbia supplementing arguments made by the U.S. Department of Justice and explaining the reasons that consumers can still receive federal assistance even if their state utilizes a federally-facilitated exchange. Because of this ruling, millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Virginians will continue to access federal assistance to afford quality healthcare.

      Attorney General Herring issued the following statement on today’s ruling:

      “I’m really proud that the court agreed with us, but mostly I’m relieved that millions of Americans dodged a bullet. This lawsuit was a legal Hail Mary that was just playing games with the healthcare of nearly 300,000 vulnerable Virginians, nearly 9 million Americans, and the stability of the health insurance markets in at least 34 states. In Virginia, the average annual assistance at stake was more than $3,000. That’s the difference between having healthcare and going without for hundreds of thousands of Virginia families. That’s life changing. The stakes were too high for us to sit this one out, so we fought and won at the 4th Circuit, and now we’ve fought and won at the Supreme Court.”

      Herring helped successfully defend Virginians access to healthcare affordability assistance when the case was before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. At the district level, former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli had previously filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs’ position.

    • lowkell

      From ProgressVA:

      In the wake of today’s Supreme Court decision upholding the legality of health insurance subsidies for policies purchased in the federal exchange, ProgressVA renewed its call for the General Assembly to act to close the coverage gap.

      “The Supreme Court has ruled, more than once, and the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land,” said ProgressVA Education Fund executive director Anna Scholl. “But while many Virginians are benefiting from increased access to affordable, quality health insurance, our poorest neighbors have been struggling in the coverage gap. Instead of acting to fully implement the Affordable Care Act, Tea Party legislators in the General Assembly have been playing political games and trying to score cheap points. We’ve had enough of some politicians playing games with Virginians’ health. It’s time for the General Assembly to act to close the coverage gap and ensure every Virginian can afford to be healthy.”

      Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions have benefitted from coverage for preexisting conditions, prenatal care, and the ability to stay on a parent’s policy until age 26. Approximately 285,000 Virginians have purchased insurance policies in the federal marketplace while taking advantage of tax credits to afford the premiums. Today’s ruling means those individuals will continue to be able to afford their policies.

      Kim Duncan, of Roanoke, Virginia, is one of the 285,000 Virginians who have been able to afford health insurance thanks to subsidies available in the federal exchange. Before enrolling in a marketplace policy, Duncan postponed expensive medical care, including back surgery and struggled to afford prescription medication for chronic migraines. “Today’s decision means I can keep my health insurance policy and continue to afford to see my doctors,” said Duncan. “Before the Affordable Care Act, my preexisting conditions made health insurance unaffordable and I struggled to manage my health without access to doctors and medication. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act and the subsidy I’ve been able to access in the exchange, I’m on the best insurance policy I’ve ever had and able to get the medical care I need. I’m relieved and happy to know my health insurance coverage is now secure.”

      But, as many as 400,000 Virginians make too much money to qualify for Virginia’s low Medicaid threshold, but not enough to qualify for a subsidy or afford to purchase a health insurance policy. Those families deserve the same security and peace of mind Duncan has found through a subsidized policy. For the sake of these families, the General Assembly must take action and move forward with closing the coverage gap. “The Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act once again,” said Karen Cameron, director of Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare. “Now we must all work to close the coverage gap so that more than 400,000 uninsured Virginians can access the quality, affordable health care they need to stay healthy.”

    • lowkell

      “Today’s 6-3 decision preserves affordable health care coverage for more than 300,000 Virginians who purchased coverage through the federal exchange. This is the second time the nation’s highest court has validated our country’s important shift  toward affordable and accessible health care for everyone. I consistently have said there are many ways we could improve the Affordable Care Act. I really hope today’s ruling allows us as a country to move beyond divisive attacks and come together to work to improve health care quality, access, and affordability.”

    • lowkell

      As your Lieutenant Governor and as a practicing physician, I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision on the King v. Burwell case, which will mean that more than 285,000 Virginians will continue to receive uninterrupted tax credits to make their coverage affordable. While this is good news for the individuals who have been able to purchase insurance on the exchange, Virginia has yet to figure out how to close the coverage gap and make coverage affordable for the more than 400,000 individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid or the tax subsidies on the exchange. Closing the coverage gap should be the top priority for state policymakers in the coming year.

    • lowkell

      With the decision in King v. Burwell, the Supreme Court has further confirmed the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and allowed to stand the subsidies that have been provided to thousands of Virginians who have signed up for insurance on the federal ACA marketplace. I am very happy for the 286,000 Virginians who would otherwise have lost reasonably-priced insurance and for the many Americans who continue to benefit from provisions of the ACA. In Virginia, though, there is much work that needs to be done. Almost 400,000 of our friends and neighbors would benefit by state expansion of Medicaid. If we expanded, we would also bring Virginians’ tax dollars back to the Commonwealth, where they could be used to create jobs, insure people, and help our hospitals rather than have them sent to places like Connecticut and New York to fund their own expansions. In the next session, we will try again to expand Medicaid. I hope my Republican colleagues will finally conclude it is a good deal for the Commonwealth and their constituents.

    • lowkell

      “The Supreme Court was right to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges that provide quality, affordable healthcare to millions to Americans,” said Rep. Don Beyer. “Obamacare was landmark legislation, and in the five years since its enactment, has helped millions of middle-class Americans find and keep necessary health insurance. As I vowed to my constituents, I will work to uphold and strengthen the Affordable Care Act to protect patients and extend health insurance to our most vulnerable.

    • lowkell

    • lowkell



      Rose Garden

      11:34 A.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  Have a seat.  Five years ago, after nearly a century of talk, decades of trying, a year of bipartisan debate — we finally declared that in America, health care is not a privilege for a few, but a right for all.

      Over those five years, as we’ve worked to implement the Affordable Care Act, there have been successes and setbacks.  The setbacks I remember clearly.  (Laughter.)  But as the dust has settled, there can be no doubt that this law is working.  It has changed, and in some cases saved, American lives.  It set this country on a smarter, stronger course.

      And today, after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law; after a presidential election based in part on preserving or repealing this law; after multiple challenges to this law before the Supreme Court — the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.

      This morning, the Court upheld a critical part of this law — the part that’s made it easier for Americans to afford health insurance regardless of where you live.  If the partisan challenge to this law had succeeded, millions of Americans would have had thousands of dollars’ worth of tax credits taken from them.  For many, insurance would have become unaffordable again.  Many would have become uninsured again.  Ultimately, everyone’s premiums could have gone up.  America would have gone backwards.  And that’s not what we do.  That’s not what America does.  We move forward.

      So today is a victory for hardworking Americans all across this country whose lives will continue to become more secure in a changing economy because of this law.

      If you’re a parent, you can keep your kids on your plan until they turn 26 — something that has covered millions of young people so far.  That’s because of this law.

      If you’re a senior, or an American with a disability, this law gives you discounts on your prescriptions — something that has saved 9 million Americans an average of $1,600 so far.

      If you’re a woman, you can’t be charged more than anybody else — even if you’ve had cancer, or your husband had heart disease, or just because you’re a woman.  Your insurer has to offer free preventive services like mammograms.  They can’t place annual or lifetime caps on your care because of this law.

      Because of this law, and because of today’s decision, millions of Americans who I hear from every single day will continue to receive the tax credits that have given about eight in ten people who buy insurance on the new marketplaces the choice of a health care plan that costs less than $100 a month.

      And when it comes to preexisting conditions — someday, our grandkids will ask us if there was really a time when America discriminated against people who get sick.  Because that is something this law has ended for good.  That affects everybody with health insurance — not just folks who got insurance through the Affordable Care Act.  All of America has protections it didn’t have before.

      As the law’s provisions have gradually taken effect, more than 16 million uninsured Americans have gained coverage so far.  Nearly one in three Americans who was uninsured a few years ago is insured today.  The uninsured rate in America is the lowest since we began to keep records.  And that is something we can all be proud of.

      Meanwhile, the law has helped hold the price of health care to its slowest growth in 50 years.  If your family gets insurance through your job — so you’re not using the Affordable Care Act — you’re still paying about $1,800 less per year on average than you would be if we hadn’t done anything.  By one leading measure, what business owners pay out in wages and salaries is now finally growing faster than what they spend on health insurance.  That hasn’t happened in 17 years — and that’s good for workers and it’s good for the economy.

      The point is, this is not an abstract thing anymore.  This is not a set of political talking points.  This is reality.  We can see how it is working.  This law is working exactly as it’s supposed to.  In many ways, this law is working better than we expected it to.  For all the misinformation campaigns, all the doomsday predictions, all the talk of death panels and job destruction, for all the repeal attempts — this law is now helping tens of millions of Americans.

      And they’ve told me that it has changed their lives for the better.  I’ve had moms come up and say, my son was able to see a doctor and get diagnosed, and catch a tumor early, and he’s alive today because of this law.  This law is working.  And it’s going to keep doing just that.

          Five years in, this is no longer about a law.  This is not about the Affordable Care Act as legislation, or Obamacare as a political football.  This is health care in America.

          And unlike Social Security or Medicare, a lot of Americans still don’t know what Obamacare is beyond all the political noise in Washington.  Across the country, there remain people who are directly benefitting from the law but don’t even know it.  And that’s okay.  There’s no card that says “Obamacare” when you enroll.  But that’s by design, for this has never been a government takeover of health care, despite cries to the contrary.  This reform remains what it’s always been:  a set of fairer rules and tougher protections that have made health care in America more affordable, more attainable, and more about you — the consumer, the American people.  It’s working.

          And with this case behind us, let’s be clear — we’ve still got work to do to make health care in America even better.  We’ll keep working to provide consumers with all the tools you need to make informed choices about your care.  We’ll keep working to increase the use of preventive care that avoids bigger problems down the road.  We’ll keep working to boost the steadily improving quality of care in hospitals, and bring down costs even lower, make the system work even better.  Already we’ve seen reductions, for example, in the number of readmissions at hospitals.  That saves our society money, it saves families money, makes people healthier.

          We’re making progress.  We’re going to keep working to get more people covered.  I’m going to work as hard as I can to convince more governors and state legislatures to take advantage of the law, put politics aside, and expand Medicaid and cover their citizens.  We’ve still got states out there that, for political reasons, are not covering millions of people that they could be covering, despite the fact that the federal government is picking up the tab.

          So we’ve got more work to do.  But what we’re not going to do is unravel what has now been woven into the fabric of America.  And my greatest hope is that rather than keep refighting battles that have been settled again and again and again, I can work with Republicans and Democrats to move forward.  Let’s join together, make health care in America even better.

          Three generations ago, we chose to end an era when seniors were left to languish in poverty.  We passed Social Security, and slowly it was woven into the fabric of America and made a difference in the lives of millions of people.  Two generations ago, we chose to end an age when Americans in their golden years didn’t have the guarantee of health care.  Medicare was passed, and it helped millions of people.

          This generation of Americans chose to finish the job — to turn the page on a past when our citizens could be denied coverage just for being sick.  To close the books on a history where tens of millions of Americans had no hope of finding decent, affordable health care; had to hang their chances on fate.  We chose to write a new chapter, where in a new economy, Americans are free to change their jobs or start a business, chase a new idea, raise a family, free from fear, secure in the knowledge that portable, affordable health care is there for us and always will be.  And that if we get sick, we’re not going to lose our home.  That if we get sick, that we’re going to be able to still look after our families.

          That’s when America soars — when we look out for one another.  When we take care of each other.  When we root for one another’s success.  When we strive to do better and to be better than the generation that came before us, and try to build something better for generations to come.  That’s why we do what we do.  That’s the whole point of public service.

          So this was a good day for America.  Let’s get back to work.  (Applause.)

                                            END                11:45 A.M. EDT

    • lowkell

      Statement by the Press Secretary on the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project Inc.

      The Court’s decision affirms that the Fair Housing Act enables Americans to challenge not only laws, policies, and practices that are intentionally discriminatory, but also those that have an unjustified discriminatory effect.

      Too many Americans are victims of more subtle forms of discrimination, such as predatory lending, exclusionary zoning, and development policies that limit affordable housing.  This decision reflects the reality that discrimination often operates not just out in the open, but in more hidden forms. And, it preserves a longstanding and important method for challenging and eliminating those practices and continuing the work to end discrimination in housing.

    • lowkell

      For Second Time Court Upholds Affordable Care Act in King v. Burwell

      WASHINGTON – Congressman Gerry Connolly issued this statement following the 6-3 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in King v. Burwell to uphold Affordable Care Act subsidies for eligible Americans in all states, including those like Virginia, which have refused to create state-run health insurance exchanges:

      “Today’s 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholds the right of the federal government to provide subsidies for health insurance to millions of eligible lower-and-middle-income Americans in 34 states, including my own, where Republican legislators for purely political reasons have refused to create state exchanges.  This is great news.

      “Maybe this decisive victory for the Affordable Care Act will convince Republican legislators in Virginia and across the nation, who have repeatedly voted against the best interests of their constituents who cannot afford health insurance without tax credit subsidies, to do the right thing.

      “The Court’s decision is a collective sigh of relief for millions of Virginians and Americans who would have lost their health insurance under the Affordable Care Act simply because they live in states where Republicans have blocked the creation of state health insurance exchanges.

      “Now that Republican opponents of the ACA have been thwarted by the Supreme Court in their effort to kill health insurance subsidies for millions of Americans, maybe Republican legislators in Virginia and the 35 other states that have refused to create state exchanges will see the light and start accepting the billions of federal dollars they are rejecting in their futile effort to destroy the ACA.

      “Just yesterday, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives cast votes to kill the ACA for the 60th time since it became law.  Hopefully, in the wake of today’s Court decision, the House Majority and Republican legislatures across the nation will devote their attention to helping American families secure adequate health care and reduce health care costs, rather than trying to take health insurance away from millions of men, women, and children.”

    • lowkell

      Total lie that “Obamacare is unaffordable, unworkable, and unfair, and Americans overwhelmingly oppose it.” On the latter point, in fact, Americans Support Administration on Obamacare – Poll. It’s also completely workable, affordable and fair, unlike the system how it used to be, which actually WAS “unaffordable, unworkable, and unfair.” Now we need to build on the ACA and ultimately move towards universal, single-payer health care in this country.

      For the second time, the Supreme Court has completely ignored the plain text of the law and legislated from the bench to save Obamacare. Now, more than ever, Congress must take action to repeal this law, root and branch. Obamacare is unaffordable, unworkable, and unfair, and Americans overwhelmingly oppose it. Republicans in Congress promised the voters they would repeal Obamacare, and now they need to keep their word. Republicans said their budget would repeal Obamacare, and now they need to use reconciliation to pass full repeal and send it to the President’s desk.

    • lowkell

      Quick, somebody call the waaaaaaaaaaaambulance for Rep. Morgan Griffith! LOL

      I am disappointed by this ruling, and do not understand how the Supreme Court could have ruled this way based on the plain meaning of the English language used in the text of the Obamacare health care law. But this is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that I disagree with a ruling of this Supreme Court.

    • lowkell

      This is an unfortunate loss for American families already struggling with unaffordable health care costs. The SCOTUS even admits in its majority opinion that it’s not reading the law as it should but as it wants to.

    • lowkell

      Today’s Supreme Court decision is disappointing news for the people I represent, so many of whom continue to be negatively impacted by the President’s healthcare law. We continue to see employers being forced to cut working hours for their employees; we see families being unable to keep healthcare plans they have always counted on; and we see unsustainable increases in insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.

      Today’s decision does nothing to change these facts. We in the House of Representatives must continue to pass measures that will minimize this fundamentally flawed law’s effects on the American people while we work to replace the President’s healthcare law with substantive reform based upon market-oriented principles.

    • lowkell

      I am disappointed by today’s Supreme Court ruling in the King v. Burwell case. But this decision is not the end of the fight against Obamacare. This fatally-flawed law imposes job-killing mandates, causes spending in Washington to skyrocket by $1.7 trillion, raises taxes by $1 trillion and drives up health care costs. Instead of fixing our health care system, it made the problems worse. As President of the United States, I would make fixing our broken health care system one of my top priorities.  I will work with Congress to repeal and replace this flawed law with conservative reforms that empower consumers with more choices and control over their health care decisions.

    • lowkell

      Healthcare costs continue to rise for millions of Americans and today’s ruling does not change that.  Obamacare is broken, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to repeal and replace this flawed legislation to find patient-centered solutions that will help hard-working American families.  Since January, we have voted to repeal Obamacare, repeal the Obamacare Medical-Device Tax, and repeal the Obamacare Independent Payment Advisory Board that would put government officials in charge of Americans’ healthcare options.

    • lowkell

      Henrico – Senator A. Donald McEachin today released this statement on the Supreme Court’s decision too uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s subsidies. Senator McEachin said, “I m so pleased that the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the ACA once again. Almost 300,000 Virginians have already benefited from this Act by purchasing insurance on the federal exchange using tax credits to offset the costs.

      “All Virginians deserve affordable accessible quality health care. Now that the Supreme Court has spoken, it is time for the partisan shenanigans to stop and for the intransigence of too many republican legislators to cease. we have up to 400,000 Virginians caught in a coverage gap. Let’s also make sure they get the health care they need and deserve. we have this opportunity and we are out of excuses about “legality” and “waiting for the Court to decide” all while Virginians continue to suffer. Lt’s close the coverage gap and close it now,” Senator McEachin concluded.