June 25, 2015 - The United States Supreme Court voted to uphold the nationwide tax subsidies provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a 6-3 ruling on June 25 in the case of King v. Burwell.
The central issue in the case was whether the tax subsidies granted by the ACA could be applied in states with a federally established health insurance exchange. Plaintiffs in the case argued that language in the ACA legislation meant subsidies only applied to states that established their own insurance exchange, and not to federally established exchanges.
In the majority ruling, delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court said that the subsidies do not depend on where an individual receives their insurance. At the same time, the court refused to apply the Chevron deference - which, in essence, would declare the statute ambiguous and that the federal government's interpretation was reasonable.
With the favorable ruling, the ACA has survived two challenges of its legality in the Supreme Court, following a similar ruling in the 2012 case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.
For more information: www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-114_qol1.pdf