More than 300,000 people in Kansas and Missouri will get to keep their health care tax credits after the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld subsidies for insurance plans purchased on the federal marketplace.
Plaintiffs in the much-anticipated case, King v. Burwell, had argued that ambiguous language in the 2010 Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – restricted the payment of tax credits to people who live in the 16 states, and the District of Columbia, that have established their own insurance marketplaces.
Since Kansas, Missouri and 32 other states never set up their own health-care exchanges, their subsidies had been in question.
They’ll get to keep those tax credit, thanks to justices’ 6-3 ruling that the Obama administration had correctly interpreted the law.
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., had said the prospect of so many of his constituents losing their subsidies had kept him up at night. On Tuesday, he Tweeted his relief:
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo, also praised the ruling:
Supreme Court decision on healthcare law=common sense. Time for Rs to stop the bashing and start working w/us to make it better.— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) June 25, 2015
Republican lawmakers from Missouri and Kansas reacted with dismay to the ruling, and renewed pledges to repeal Obamacare.
“For four years, we have waited, begged and pleaded for Republican leadership to allow us to debate and pass a patient-centered replacement,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan. “Now is the time to act — now is the time to keep our word to the American people.”
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said he was disappointed in the high court’s ruling, but promised to “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.”
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., stressed that the decision “does not take away from the fact (that) Obamacare is fundamentally broken and that the administration has recklessly implemented this law, damaging our health care system as a whole and jeopardizing Kansans’ health care.”
Roberts added that he would continue to fight for health care reforms.
“We don’t need to fix Obamacare, we need to fix health care,” he said.