The United States Supreme Court has rejected a case which could have meant the beginning of the end for the Affordable Care Act, after voting 6-3 against the ruling. The case was directed against the tax subsidies supporting Obamacare, without which the system it set in place could not continue.
The case was put forward by conservatives who challenged that the 2010 Act restricts health care tax subsidies even in states which already had online health insurance exchanges set in place. The Supreme Court’s ruling decided that it was not the case, clarifying that the Act was designed to be applied for all the states and encouraged health insurance markets rather than hinder them.
Two of the Supreme Court’s conservative justices, John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy, voted to reject the case alongside the four liberal justices in the 6-3 decision. The ruling severely hinders any future attempts at rolling back Obamacare, possibly ensuring it a long run as a social program.
If the case would have been reviewed favorably, the ruling might have meant that more than 6 million people over 34 states would have stopped receiving an average of $270 per month in health subsidies, and would have severely weakened the sustainability of the Affordable Care Act to the point where it could not generate the revenue needed to sustain itself.
President Barack Obama held a press conference Thursday afternoon immediately after the ruling to maintain his support for the act, which he says offers health insurance to millions of Americans who would otherwise have no chance at securing it.
“After more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law, after a presidential election based in part on preserving or repealing this law, after multiple challenges to this law before the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” Obama added.
This was the second time since 2012 when court had to settle a case against the Affordable Care Act, with the previous case – also brought forth by conservatives – being rejected with 5 votes to 4.
Despite the republicans pushing intensely for a repeal and expected to do so throughout the next presidential campaign, Thursday’s vote made it highly unlikely that even a part of the AFA subsidies would be taken out of effect until January 2017. Even then, a Republican victory at the presidential elections would be imperative for this to happen.