Justices Sharply Divided Over Health Care Law Subsidies

WASHINGTON (WLNS) – The Supreme Court is sharply divided over the tax subsidies that make insurance affordable for millions of Americans under President Barack Obama’s health overhaul.

The justices on Wednesday aggressively questioned the lawyers on both sides of the latest politically charged fight over the Affordable Care Act.

Chief Justice John Roberts said almost nothing in nearly 90 minutes of back-and-forth, and Justice Anthony Kennedy’s questions did not suggest how he will come out. Roberts was the decisive vote to uphold the law in 2012.

The same liberal-conservative divide that characterized that case otherwise was evident Wednesday.

Opponents of the law say that only residents of states that set up their own insurance markets can get federal subsidies to help pay their premiums.

The Michigan League for Public Policy says 300,000 Michigan adults’ health care coverage is at stake.

“With the health care coverage of  300,000 Michigan adults at stake, it’s important that the U.S. Supreme Court justices allow tax subsidies to stand in Michigan and other states without their own health care marketplaces. It’s clear that Congress never intended that only people in certain states could take advantage of tax subsidies. Those subsidies should be available to all Americans who qualify, regardless of geographic boundaries,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, Michigan League for Public Policy, president and CEO.

“The Affordable Care Act is working well in many ways. Health care costs are down. More young adults are covered. Seriously ill people are no longer dumped from coverage. People can’t be turned away due to pre-existing conditions. Preventive care is at no cost to patients. The Affordable Care Act has been good for Michigan and the country. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will allow the subsidies for low- and moderate-income adults to continue. It’s clearly the right choice,” said Jacobs.

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