The U.S. Supreme Court will hear new arguments challenging the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as Obamacare. The challenge threatens healthcare insurance subsidies to millions of Americans.
Obamacare is a federal statute that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. It represents one of the most important overhauls of the country's healthcare system as more than 4 million Americans receive subsidies under the program.
The statute makes healthcare insurance premium more affordable to low- and middle-income families in the U.S.
Critics of Obamacare, however, claim that the subsidies are not legal and that the act does not allow the government to reduce health insurance premium in many states.
Thirty-eight states have opted not to run the marketplaces, known as exchanges, for insurance coverage due to the program's complexity and cost and also political opposition to it.
The Obama Administration is prepared to defend the ACA. Josh Earnest, White House press secretary, stated that the lawsuits will not stand in the ACA's way and that the intent of the law is to ensure that millions of Americans get financial help. The latest lawsuit is an attempt to deprive tax credits from millions of Americans, the White House said.
"We will continue to ensure that every American has the peace of mind of having access to affordable insurance," the Obama administration said. "We are confident that the Supreme Court will recognize both the clear reading of the entire law and the certain intent of Congress in crafting it."
The White House also pointed out that the uninsured rate is declining in the U.S., an indication that the ACA is working. Low- and middle-income families who are planning to enroll or have already enrolled in the program are advised that nothing has changed since the inception of the plan and that tax credits as well as affordable insurance coverage are still available.
For the current year, single adults earning an income of up to $45,960 per year and a family of four with a household income of up to $94,200 per year can apply for subsidy under the ACA.
The case is expected to be argued in February or March 2015 and the results are estimated to be handed down by June 2015.