The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, has been upheld by the Supreme Court. This new ruling is now leading some proponents, including President Obama, to say the health care reforms are "here to stay."
The recent 6-3 decision was centered on the provision allowing tax subsidies for low- and middle-income individuals to pay for health insurance.
John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, wrote than Congress intended for these tax credits to apply in all 50 states. Roberts is a conservative, appointed by President George W. Bush.
"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," and tax credits are needed to "avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid," Roberts wrote.
President Barack Obama signed the act in 2010 following a year of debate in Washington. This decision by the Supreme Court could mean the Affordable Care Act will remain as part of the American political landscape. Many pundits consider these reforms to be among the signature acts of the Obama administration.
"We've seen the largest decline in the uninsured rate since the early 1970s, and the uninsured rate is now at the lowest level recorded across five decades of data. Since several of the Affordable Care Act's coverage provisions took effect, more than 16 million uninsured people have gained health insurance coverage," the White House reported.
The court case was based on a phrase in the law stating the credit is available to those people buying insurance on exchanges "established by the state." If the Supreme Court had struck down the tax subsidy, 6.4 million people living in 34 states would have lost an average of $272 a month in credits, according to Reuters.
Republicans in office have been nearly unanimous in their opposition to the reforms. Despite the recent decision by the nation's highest court, the issue is likely to be a point of contention during the 2016 election cycle. Bills weakening or repealing parts of the new law have been introduced into Congress 50 times since 2010, according to the White House.
Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the dissenting opinion in the case, speaking for 11 minutes as he delivered his remarks. Scalia stated that the Supereme Court of the United States (Scotus) had supported Obamacare to such a degree that the reforms should be known as Scotuscare. Roberts is reported to have smiled when he heard that line being spoken.
Shareholders in the pharmaceutical industry immediately benefited from the decisions, as stocks in these corporations soared. Tenet Healthcare, Community Health Systems, Universal Health Services and other health-based corporations saw stock prices rise between seven and 13 percent.