Supreme Court hands a big win for Obamacare, Oklahomans impacted by decision

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WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling on a controversial health care law, which is known as Obamacare.

Currently, the federal government pays $1.7 billion every month to help buy health insurance for low-income Americans who cannot afford it.

However, there was a question whether that extra help was constitutional.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that consumers qualify for a tax credit that lowers the cost of premiums whether they buy their coverage through federal or state exchanges.

"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. "If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter."

According to CNBC, federal subsidies help 6.4 million people pay for their health plans under the Affordable Care Act.

In fact, the subsidies have reduced the insurance premiums for millions of low-income Americans by about $270 a month.

Officials told CNN that the income-based subsidies are crucial to the law's success by helping to make health insurance more affordable and reducing the number of uninsured Americans.

Opponents of the law argued that the Affordable Care Act made subsidies available to only insurance customers who bought their policies through "an exchange established by the state."

However, only 16 exchanges that sell insurance plans from private insurers are currently run by a state.

If the court had ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, it would have created a split across the country.

According to CNBC, people in most of the country would be forced to pay the full retail price for insurance plans, which would have included Oklahoma residents.

Before the decision was announced, analysts had said if the justices ruled against the Affordable Care Act, insurance plan prices would skyrocket and nearly 8 million people would lose their health insurance.

Not everyone is pleased with the decision.

Gov. Mary Fallin released the following statement after the ruling:

"The Supreme Court's decision today in King v. Burwell means that taxpayers will be, for the time being, stuck with a law that is deeply flawed, disruptive to the lives of American families and a destructive force in our economy. As I and others have argued for years, states need flexibility to pursue their own health care solutions tailored to the needs of their constituents; Obamacare does the opposite by pursuing one-size-fits-all policies. Health care decisions need to be left to doctors and patients; Obamacare erodes that relationship and replaces it with decisions made by bureaucrats. Successful health care reform would make health care less expensive and would focus on improved health; but Obamacare has led to ballooning insurance premiums shouldered by hardworking families without corresponding improvements in health outcomes.

Regardless of the court's ruling today, the status quo cannot be allowed to stand. Now, more than ever, the American people need Congress to use its powers to move the country towards constructive, market-oriented solutions that empower families, provide flexibility to states, improve health and reduce the cost of health care."

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