UPDATE #2: From the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative:
This is tremendous economic news for consumers nationwide. Everyone, regardless of where they live will continue to have access to more affordable health coverage to get the health care they need. It means that the health coverage of over 6 million Americans will remain accessible and that health care systems nationwide can continue to build on the progress that has already been made through Obamacare. An adverse ruling would have eliminated the affordability subsidies in states using the federal marketplace therefore making insurance unaffordable and leading millions dropping their coverage. The subsequent disruption to the insurance markets would have thrown the health insurance systems throughout the country into turmoil.
Chief Justice John Roberts stated in his opinion, “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not destroy them.”
Colorado had the foresight to advance bipartisan legislation to establish our own state-based marketplace. Our marketplace customers would have been insulated from a ruling striking down the subsidies, but we recognize the ripple effect from those states more immediately impacted that could have destabilized our own health insurance and health care systems. We are pleased to know that the ACA and Colorado’s implementation of better access to coverage and care will not be jeopardized.
UPDATE: Colorado Republicans vent their rage via Twitter:
Obamacare is a disaster for hundreds of thousands of Coloradans who lost their insurance and saw their deductibles skyrocket #COpolitics
— Rep. Mike Coffman (@RepMikeCoffman) June 25, 2015
I’m committed to repealing Obamacare & replacing it with reforms to control costs, expand access, and protect doctor-patient relationships.
— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) June 25, 2015
From Sen. Cory Gardner’s statement:
“Obamacare began as partisan legislation hastily rammed through Congress without proper debate or consideration. The more than five years since its passage have been marked by policy cancellations, premium increases, and millions of Americans dissatisfied with the changes to the healthcare system.
”Today’s decision bails out the careless, reckless authors of a law that has done real damage to our healthcare system. Obamacare’s problems, however, are not merely the result of poor writing. Even if perfectly authored, a government takeover of healthcare would be the wrong prescription for America…”
That’s the word from our friends at SCOTUSBlog: by a 6-3 margin, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld Affordable Care Act insurance premium subsidies for the states that use the federal health insurance marketplace. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the powerful majority opinion:
In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. Our role is more confined—“to say what the law is.” Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177 (1803). That is easier in some cases than in others. But in every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan.
Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. [Pols emphasis] If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter. Section 36B can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress’s plan, and that is the reading we adopt. The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is
It should be noted again that because Colorado developed our own health insurance marketplace, known affectionately as “AmyCare” after its Republican sponsor former Rep. Amy Stephens, an adverse decision in King v. Burwell would not have immediately affected policyholders in our state. It would have been extremely destructive in the states that did not set up an insurance exchange, though, which not coincidentally are in most cases Republican-dominated state governments. With that said, the case in King v. Burwell was always embarrassingly weak, relying on an elementary drafting error in an attempt to spike a major piece of legislation to the immediate, tangible detriment of millions of Americans.
Well folks, that’s not happening. We’ll update this post with local coverage and reactions.