The U.S. Supreme Court on June 25 upheld the nationwide availability of tax subsidies that are crucial to the implementation of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, handing a major victory to the president.
The court ruled on a 6-3 vote that the 2010 Affordable Care Act did not restrict the subsidies to states that establish their own online healthcare exchanges. It marked the second time in three years that the high court ruled against a major challenge to the law brought by conservatives.
The decision means the subsidies will remain not just in the 13 states that have set up their own exchanges and the three states that have state-federal hybrid exchanges, but also in the 34 states that use the exchange run by the federal government.
The case centered on the tax subsidies offered under the law, passed by Obama’s fellow Democrats in Congress in 2010 over unified Republican opposition, that help low- and moderate-income people buy private health insurance. The exchanges are online marketplaces that allow consumers to shop among competing insurance plans.
Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision on King vs. Burwell:
“While, today’s decision by the Supreme Court is one of great importance to the dialogue on health care coverage across the country, there are issues within the current law that need to be addressed.
“We are concerned that the issues impacting restaurants and the employer community at large have yet to move forward in Congress. Certain provisions within ACA like the definition of full-time employment at 30 hours, the lack of clarity regarding reporting requirements, auto-enrollment, the inconsistency of defining ‘seasonal employment’ and the process of determining which businesses are considered ‘large’ under the law, have placed an enormous amount of undue burden on American businesses large and small.
“We have worked tirelessly with Congress on behalf of our membership to find bipartisan solutions to these very real problems and will continue to do so as the discussion on health care continues.”