In a ruling on King v. Burwell announced Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold Obamacare subsides. Millions of Americans who signed up for health insurance through Healthcare.gov will continue to receive subsidies. The 6-to-3 vote saw Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy rule to uphold the subsidies alongside the liberal justices.
"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," Chief Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. "If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter."
Under the ACA, states can establish their own insurance exchanges or let the federal government do it for them through Healthcare.gov. With this ruling, more than 6 million Americans in 34 states that make up 87 percent of Obamacare enrollees will get to keep their subsidies.
The case centered around only four words in the extensive law: "established by the states." The justices deliberated over whether it was correctly interpreted by the administration to allow subsidies to be available across the country. Had the Supreme Court ruled the subsidies illegal, chaos would have ensued in the 34 states that would have had to hastily set up their own health care exchanges so that millions of Americans wouldn't lose their health care coverage.
The ruling is a crucial victory for the Obama administration. It was the second time in three years that the Supreme Court ruled against a major challenge to the ACA. Conservatives have been trying to scrap the law since the very beginning.
The case was seen as the Affordable Care Act's last huge obstacle and now will likely stay in place for a long time.
[Cover image via Alex Wong/Getty Images News]