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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Applauds Supreme Court Decision in King v. Burwell

    Ivy Baer, Senior Director and Regulatory Counsel

    The AAMC June 25 released a statement applauding the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in King v. Burwell, which preserves access to federal subsidies to increase access to health care through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) federal, state, and state-federal partnership exchanges.

    AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., commended the ruling stating, “The ACA is an important step toward an improved health care system with greater access to care. Preserving subsidies for affordable coverage will go a long way to ensuring that all Americans can get the health care they need.”

    King v. Burwell called into question whether provisions in the ACA limited the availability of federal tax credits to state-run insurance exchanges (i.e., individuals using federally-facilitated or federal-state partnership exchanges could not receive federal tax credits). In explaining the Court’s decision, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that Congress intended to have tax credits available to individuals in all states. He called any other interpretation of the language “implausible” because it would “destabilize the individual insurance market in any state with a Federal Exchange, and likely create the very ‘death spiral’ that Congress designed the Act to avoid.”

    In January, the AAMC, along with other hospital associations, submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of allowing subsidies in all exchanges, to avoid adding millions of Americans to the ranks of the uninsured [see Washington Highlights, Jan. 30].

    The AAMC statement also acknowledged that addressing the doctor shortage is another vital step toward ensuring that patients can receive the care they need when they need it. The AAMC called on Congress to address the doctor shortage now, rather than face a shortage of 46,000-90,000 doctors in 2025.