The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, ruled in favor of Burwell, maintaining subsidies in all states, regardless of whether the government, the state, or a mix of the two, runs their exchanges. The result preserves assistance for 6.4 million customers in the 34 states that rely on the federal marketplace.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan voting in favor of the federal subsidiaries, while Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito dissented.
At issue in the case was a line in the law stipulating that subsidies are available to those who sign up for coverage “through an exchange established by the state.” In issuing regulations to implement the subsidies in 2012, however, the IRS ruled that subsidies would also be available to those enrolling through the federal health insurance exchange. At the time, the agency noted Congress had never discussed limiting the subsidies to state-run exchanges. It stated that making subsidies available to all “is consistent with the language, purpose and structure” of the law as a whole.
Those challenging the law, however, insist that Congress did indeed intend to limit the subsidies to state exchanges.
To read the full ruling on the case, click here.