Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act, PPACA or known as Obamacare, has once again survived the challenge from Republicans, after a 6-3 decision ruling by the US Supreme Court, or SCOTUS. Obamacare will be the health care law that will solidify President Barack Obama's legacy for generations to come.
The ruling was about the provision in the PPACA authorizing federal tax credits for eligible Americans, whether they live in states
with their own exchanges or in the other 34 states with federal marketplaces. If it had failed to pass, Americans were up for an upcoming major political showdown. Most importantly, states without Federal exchanges were going to find themselves in limbo, forced to act to prevent millions from losing health care coverage.
The majority ruling was issued by Chief Justice John Roberts who wrote that: "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."
It is the second time that Chief Justice John Roberts played an instrumental role to rescue Obamacare from the challenge from Republicans. In 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts ruled against a constitutional challenge to the PPACA against expectations from Republican politicians and those opposed to the law.
As expected, President Obama and his administration were delighted:
"Five years ago, after nearly a century of talk, decades of trying, a year of bipartisan debate, we finally declared that in America, health care is not a privilege for a few but a right for all...The Affordable Care Act is here to stay," President Obama said from the White House.
The income-based subsidies are crucial to the law's success. The subsidies along with the imperative to have insurance for most Americans helps to make health insurance more affordable and to reduce the number of uninsured Americans. Without federal subsidies, individuals in the 34 states that rely on exchanges run by the federal government would have upended the law.
With the ruling Congress does not have to amend the PPACA to fix its language that subsidies would be available only to
those who purchase insurance on exchanges "established by the state". Alternatively, governors in the 34 states with Federal exchanges do not have to establish their own exchanges.
Democrat Presidential candidates praised the ruling, whereas Republican candidates vowed to continue their attempts to overturn Obamacare. For most observers, including pragmatic Republicans, Obamacare is here to stay. Already, the approval rate of Obamacare has jumped to above 50% in the last month.