ACA Onlookers Hold Their Breath for Another Supreme Court Ruling

Two years ago, we all waited anxiously to see if the U.S. Supreme Court would uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The Supremes (as I like to call them) did uphold the law – but here we are again in 2015, waiting for another Court decision that could be historic in determining the law’s fate.

In King v. Burwell, the challenge involves one section of the 1,000-plus-page law dealing with the IRS, and it will determine if states that chose to use the federal government’s Web site to enroll people can offer those enrollees a federal subsidy to help pay for the insurance. New Jersey was among 37 states that chose not to establish their own exchange and instead rely on the “federal exchange.”

Most people agree that this was a drafting error in the law, but the Supreme Court will issue a decision within the next month that could determine if 203,473 New Jerseyans (out of 254,316 total enrolled on may continue to receive federal funding to offset the cost of the premium. This represents 83 percent of those enrolled in New Jersey. The Supreme Court decision could have a monumental impact on the ability of these individuals to afford health insurance.

The ACA evokes strong feelings in many, but no one can deny it has reduced the number of uninsured Americans in our country by about 11 million. It would be a shame to take a step backward and see that number creep back up.  I remain optimistic that the Supreme Court will view the law in its totality, listen to those that worked on the legislation and rule that the subsidies may continue to flow regardless of what type of exchange an individual used to enroll. Why should a New Yorker receive a subsidy but a New Jerseyan be denied, simply because of a technicality in where their exchange was rooted? It just doesn’t make sense.

Time will tell – about 30 days’ time to be precise, with the Court’s current session slated to wrap up at the end of June.

Written by Betsy Ryan at 00:00

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