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U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Affordable Care Act, Michigan exchanges stay

Jun 25, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court.
Credit Supreme Court of the United States

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of one of the central parts of the Affordable Care Act, keeping the law in place in states throughout the country.

Their decision comes three years after the high court upheld the constitutionality of the law.

The case before the court, King v. Burwell, centered on health care exchanges run by the federal government – as is the case in Michigan.

"The decision affects more than 228,000 Michiganders who claim the credit. A decision to strike down the subsidies would have also been a blow to Michigan's Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act," MPRN's Rick Pluta reports.

The Associated Press reports the average monthly tax credit claimed in Michigan is $273. People in 33 other states were at risk of losing their health care coverage under the ACA had the ruling gong the other way. 

The nine Supreme Court justices were deciding whether the subsidies to pay for health insurance should be given to people who signed up through the federal exchange. The ACA says these subsidies are available to people through “an exchange established by the state.”

The court ruled 6-3 in favor of allowing the ACA to remain in place.

More from NPR’s Nina Totenberg:

Those words stipulate that for people who cannot afford health coverage, subsidies are available through 'an exchange established by the state…

The government [contended] that those words refer to any exchange, whether it is set up by the state itself or an exchange run for the state by the federal government in accordance with individual state insurance laws and regulations. The challengers [said] the statute means what it says and no more.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the government.

You can read the decision here.

Here's President Obama's reaction to the ruling:

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, released the following statement:

We appreciate that the deep uncertainty of this issue has been resolved.  The health and wellbeing of the people of Michigan is always a top priority.

Our focus can now center on securing the second waiver for our Healthy Michigan Plan, which has been an outstanding success. Today, nearly 600,000 Michiganders of all ages have health care through Healthy Michigan, translating into 152,920 primary care visits, 414,724 preventive care visits, 46,347 mammograms, and 23,817 colonoscopies or colon cancer screenings. Our citizens are able to take steps to live healthier, more productive lives – and that benefits us all.

Healthy Michigan saves money for our state, too, by reducing uncompensated care costs that once were passed on to taxpayers and businesses. And the plan emphasizes personal responsibility by requiring participants to share in the costs while giving incentives for living healthier lives.

Regardless of feelings on the Affordable Care Act, it’s vital to our state that we continue working to improve and reform health care, create more and better jobs, and build a brighter future for our kids right here in Michigan.

Other Republicans vowed to continue to fight against the ACA, including Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette:

“The Affordable Care Act violated the very first principle of medicine: Do no harm. The Court’s ruling today continues the harm inflicted by Obamacare."

... and Michigan Congressman Mike Bishop:

“While this ruling leaves the subsidies intact, it’s clear Obamacare has become more about policy technicalities than affordable, patient-centered care. Republicans will continue fighting for families – not an unsustainable law – by working to restore quality and choice without breaking the bank. Our nation can build a better path forward on health care, and it begins with putting patients first.”

*This post has been updated.