In the News

After Ruling Obama Says ACA 'Here to Stay'

Thursday, June 25, 2015
Eryn Ashleigh
Women's E News
Washington

This article was originally posted on WomensEnews.com

President Barack Obama led a national outpouring of relieved reaction to news on June 25 that the Supreme Court upheld a key section of the Affordable Care Act.

“The Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” the president told CNN Thursday in a televised address. “If the partisan challenge to this law had succeeded . . . many would have become uninsured again . . . America would have gone backwards. Today is a victory for hard working Americans all across this country whose lives will become more secure because of this law.”

Deborah Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, was one of many rights activists to hail the news and underscore its particular importance to women.

“Women are 54 percent of those purchasing coverage through the federal marketplace,” Ness said in a press statement, “and would have been hurt the most by an adverse ruling . . . Roughly 76 million people are benefitting from access to covered preventive care, including contraceptive services.”

In the King v. Burwell decision, the court said government subsidies making health insurance affordable should be available to all Americans, The Washington Post reported June 25. In a 6-3 vote, justices affirmed an Internal Revenue Service ruling that the subsidies should be available in states that have set up their own health insurance exchanges, as well as in states where consumers rely on the federal government exchange. The provision was challenged by conservative legal strategists.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who surprisingly wrote the opinion in favor of Obamacare, concluded, “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,” The Washington Post reported on June 25.

The ruling is an even bigger victory for the law than expected, a Slate article reported June 25. By providing affordable health care to Americans in all 50 states, the provision in question is now less ambiguous, and therefore will be more difficult to change or challenge in the future, the article said.

Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, said “hundreds of thousands of Latinas will retain their health insurance, and up to 2 million will retain the opportunity to access affordable coverage, now and in the future.”

The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum also applauded the decision, saying it will continue meaningful access to health care for many Asian American and Pacific Islander women.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on June 24, was among several conservatives expressing displeasure at the court’s decision, The Washington Post reported June 25. “Conservatives must be fearless in demanding that our leaders in Washington repeal and replace Obamacare with a plan that will lower health care costs and restore freedom.”

Other conservatives expressed their ire at the Republican-appointed Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote the decision, by calling him a traitor.

Mother Jones reported on June 25 “there are no further serious legal challenges to Obamacare. The only challenge left is legislative, if Republicans capture both the House and the Senate and manage to get a Republican elected president.”