The US Supreme Court could take health care away from millions of Americans

Posted By Levi

March 4th, 2015 7:24pm

Category: Health Care


Under Obamacare, millions of Americans are receiving affordable health care. However, this could be in jeopardy as today the US Supreme Court began hearing a case that could result in the loss of health care for millions.

Here is the problem.

The case the Court is hearing is called King v. Burwel. Under Obamacare, Americans can purchase health insurance through online marketplaces called insurance exchanges. These are kind of similar to the way in which you purchase airline tickets online.

These exchanges are set up both by the federal and state governments. When you make a purchase, the system tells you if you are entitled to a subsidy which reduces the cost of the insurance considerably for many people. Without the subsidy, many Americans simply couldn’t afford the insurance.

When the law was passed, it gave the states a clear choice: they could run their own exchanges or have the federal government runs it for them. Because the people who wrote the Affordable Care Act expected that all states would set up their own exchanges, the law links the provision of subsidies to “exchanges established by the states.”

However, several states refused to set up exchanges so the federal government stepped in and set them up so their residents could buy insurance if they wished. In this map, the states in red did not set up their own exchanges.

Those who bought insurance through the exchanges set up by the federal government received the same subsidies as those who purchased it through those exchanges set up by states. Subsidies lower the cost of the insurance considerably.

But opponents of the law seized on this and argued that those who purchased insurance through the federal government should not have received the subsidies. Therefore, the Obama administration violated the law.

Now it’s up to the Supreme Court to decide the issue. Given the right-wing tilt of the current court, it may rule in favor of opponents of the law and strikes a devastating blow to Obamacare.

Congress could fix the whole thing by adding three words. The current law says  that subsidies can be given only to people who buy insurance through “exchanges established by the states.” That could be changed to “exchanges established by the states or federal government.”

In fact, pretty much everybody who actually wrote the law—and pretty much every journalist who covered it believed that Congress intended that everyone who qualifies for the subsidy would get it regardless of whether they purchased it via federal or state exchanges.

Affordable medical care is a basic human  right. It should be a basic right for all Americans and not just for those who can afford it. The thought that some people would deny others the right to basic health care is just insane.

So that’s it. But just in case I didn’t explain it simply enough, here is Jon Stewart.

Twitter: @Levianthony123

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