The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Affordable Care Act authorized federal tax credits for eligible Americans in both states with their own exchanges, but also in Missouri and 33 other states using federal exchanges.
The ruling is a win for President Barack Obama over challengers who argued the federal government should not be able to give subsidies to individuals in states that lacked their own exchange. Such a ruling could have removed subsidies from an estimated 6.4-million Americans unless Congress or those 34 states’ legislatures acted.
Missouri Democrats are praising the ruling, and called on the Missouri legislature to accept federal money to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Act.
St. Louis Congressman William Lacy Clay (D) said in a statement, “I am very gratified that the high court has upheld this essential funding mechanism for the Affordable Care Act, landmark legislation which I helped shape, that is now working well for over 16 million Americans. The ACA is now the settled law of the land. And the endless, politically motivated attempts to weaken or overturn it must end.”
Clay added, “Now is the time to fully implement the law, especially in states like Missouri where the state legislature continues to throw away $5.4 million a day in federal funds that taxpayers have already sent to Washington by refusing to expand Medicaid under the ACA. The time for political posturing and empty excuses is over. They must act without delay to allow their most vulnerable constituents to receive affordable healthcare coverage, just like they do.”
Governor Jay Nixon (D) echoed Clay’s sentiments.
“Today’s ruling is good news for hundreds of thousands of working Missourians who will continue to have access to affordable health coverage through the federal exchange,” said Nixon. “However, it is important to note that there are hundreds of thousands more Missourians who continue to be denied access to affordable health care due to the Missouri legislature’s inaction on Medicaid.
“Today’s ruling by the Roberts Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act a second time removes all doubt that the ACA is and will remain the law of the land. There are no more excuses for continuing to send our tax dollars to other states and denying 300,000 working Missourians the opportunity to access affordable health care coverage through Medicaid expansion. I look forward to working with the General Assembly next session to finally bring our tax dollars home and provide affordable health coverage to hundreds of thousands of hard-working Missourians through Medicaid expansion.”
Senator Claire McCaskill (D) said on Twitter, “Supreme Court decision on healthcare law=common sense. Time for Rs to stop the bashing and start working w/us to make it better.’
Attorney General Chris Koster, Missouri’s lone Democratic candidate for governor in 2016, said in a statement, “Republicans and Democrats both agree that America’s health care system has long needed to change. For too long, those with insurance have had to pay more to offset the cost of care for those without insurance. This had a negative economic impact for consumers and the economy as a whole.
“The Affordable Care Act has succeeded at adding hundreds of thousands of Missourians to the rolls of the insured, and continues to reduce costs. But its effect on Missouri’s economy could be even more beneficial. Studies have estimated it could create up to 24,000 jobs in our state and generate billions in labor income. This is why Republicans like Kit Bond and business groups like the Chamber of Commerce support Medicaid expansion.
“Today’s ruling was a positive step forward. The subsidies are an important part of building our health care infrastructure and providing affordable care to low- and middle-income families. I hope our state legislature will now see the economic value in Medicaid expansion and bring Missouri’s tax dollars back to our state.”
Missouri Republicans, on the other hand, expressed disappointment in the ruling, and vowed to continue fighting the healthcare reform law.
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R) said in a statement, “For more than five years, I’ve heard from countless Missouri workers, seniors, and families who are facing higher costs and fewer choices due to the president’s health care takeover. And Missourians recently learned more bad news when the Obama Administration announced premium rate increases for our state in 2016 of up to 34 percent.
“This law has been one false promise after another. First, the president promised people if they liked their health care, they could keep it. He insisted that not having coverage would result in a penalty, not a tax, and he promised affordable health care to millions of Americans who now find they cannot afford it.
“While I’m disappointed that the Court didn’t ultimately accept what the law actually said, I’ll keep fighting to protect Missourians from the president’s flawed health care plan and replace it with a patient-centered system that lowers costs, increases choices, and provides greater access to quality care.”
Northern Missouri Congressman Sam Graves wrote, “I strongly disagree with today’s ruling, but it does not change my resolve to fully repeal Obamacare. The president’s health care law has led to higher costs, fewer jobs, and tremendous uncertainty for families and small businesses.”
Graves continued, “What’s worse, Obamacare takes healthcare decisions out of the hands of patients and doctors and leaves them up to bureaucrats in Washington. Regardless of the outcome of this ruling, I will continue working to replace Obamacare with patient-centered, free market reforms that protect Americans from this harmful law.”
East-central Missouri Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer wrote, “Today the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare in the case of King v. Burwell. While I had hoped for a different outcome, this does not mean that I will give up the fight to chip away at the costly and job killing components of the president’s failed health-care law. I will continue to listen to the people of the 3rd District and work with my colleagues to repeal the most onerous pieces of Obamacare and am also looking ahead towards a future where real solutions can be made – solutions that focus on freedom, empowerment, flexibility, and putting doctors and patients back in charge of health-care.”
West-central Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler wrote, “Obamacare has been a disaster since its inception. This ruling does nothing to help the American people get out from underneath the clutch of an onerous federal mandate and bolsters a bad law, making it more difficult for Congress to work towards real, patient-centered reform to our broken health care system. Moreover, it sets an extremely dangerous precedent that the executive can unilaterally alter laws – a job constitutionally delegated to the elected representatives in Congress. I am extremely disappointed the Supreme Court failed to rebuke President Obama’s continued executive overreach of legislating from the Oval Office.”