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June 25, 2015

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in King v. Burwell (No. 14-114), a case challenging one of the central pillars of health insurance coverage offered through the Marketplaces, also known as Exchanges, created through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The case challenged whether tax credits and subsidies that make health care more affordable for people with low incomes should be available in states that do not set up their own Marketplaces. In a 6-3 decision, the Court upheld the availability of such tax credits and subsidies in all ACA Marketplaces, regardless of whether they are set up by the federal or state governments.   

In a decision that employs a common-sense, contextual reading of the key phrase in the Act under review, Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the majority, declared in what is likely to be an enduring quote: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

“This is an important victory not only for proponents of the ACA, but for our health coverage system as a whole, including Medicare,” states Center for Medicare Advocacy Executive Director Judith Stein. “In addition to expanding health insurance coverage to millions of people who previously went without it, the Affordable Care Act strengthened and improved the Medicare program in a number of ways. It is time for the assault on the ACA to end, and for policymakers to support affordable health coverage for all.”

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The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc., established in 1986, is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides education, advocacy and legal assistance to help older people and people with disabilities obtain fair access to Medicare and necessary health care. The Center is headquartered in Connecticut and Washington, DC with offices throughout the country.

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