Eighty-six thousand poor and middle-class Utahns can keep the tax subsidies they receive from the federal government to help them afford health insurance. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Thursday to uphold federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
Obamacare will proceed, at least for now, despite conservative efforts to dismantle the president’s landmark law. Utah Governor Gary Herbert is disappointed, says Marty Carpenter, the governor’s spokesman.
“The governor feels we must ensure federal tax dollars Utahns pay under this law provide optimal benefit to our state and he will continue to strongly support republican efforts at the federal level to repeal and replace Obamacare with policies that provide access while addressing the rising costs of healthcare,” Carpenter says.
But Utah Democrats and healthcare advocates are relieved.
Jason Stevenson is with Utah Health Policy Project. He says thousands of lives were hanging in the balance on this decision.
“So we’re really happy that these families can continue to go to the doctor, go to the hospital, get their kids immunized and even more people can sign up for insurance and they’re not going to face any roadblocks,” Stevenson.
In a statement Utah Republican Senator and Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch argued the plain text of the healthcare law authorizes subsidies only through state exchanges, not the federal exchange. He says the decision allows the Obama Administration to ignore the law.