This Thursday, for the second time in three years, the Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare, President Obama’s landmark healthcare reform bill, may provide nationwide tax subsidies to low and middle class citizens seeking health insurance. The case King v. Burwell was spurred by a slight miswording of the original 900 page Affordable Care Act document where it stated that subsidies would only be available to those purchasing insurance “on an exchange by the state”. The health care law created marketplaces or “exchanges” where individuals could shop for their health care coverage plan. The lawsuit questioned if the 34 states that chose to maintain a federally-facilitated marketplace, as opposed to establishing a state-based marketplace, could receive essential tax subsidies necessary for affordable health care. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion on the 6-3 decision, with the remaining three conservative Justices dissenting.
This ruling will ensure millions of Americans receive affordable insurance policies in those 34 federally-facilitated marketplace states and continue to do the same in states with state-based marketplaces. The long-standing issue of primary care physician shortages remains unaffected despite the upholding of this legislation as affordable access to healthcare insurance still does not ensure access to health care itself. As millions more American citizens cash in on their affordable insurance policies, the already low numbers of primary care doctors available compounded with the narrow network of doctors provided through ACA policies will reveal a more deeply rooted issue with the health care system in America.
What are your thoughts on the recent Supreme Court decision? Let us know in the comments.