After the Supreme Court upheld a provision of the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — 1.3 million Floridians will be able to keep their health insurance subsidies. The Supreme Court decision allows states such as Florida to use federal insurance exchanges to provide subsidized coverage to residents.
Opponents of the measure argued that subsidies should be provided only through state exchanges, rather than on a federal level. Federal tax credit subsidies cover around 6.4 million people, and were designed to help low-income or moderate-income families cover health insurance costs.
After a 6-3 vote by the Supreme Court, the tax credits were upheld for residents of 34 states, with Florida being one of them.
“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts. “If at all possible, we must interpret the act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”
Florida had perhaps one of the biggest stakes in the pass or fail of this motion. It is the third largest state, with the highest number of residents taking advantage of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, 93% of Floridians who have coverage under the federal exchange also signed up receive subsidies this year. This ruling helps Florida residents keep their $88 premium with subsidies, and avoids an increase to $376 per month. If this had failed, many Floridians would have been forced to drop their coverage due to the expense. Sport injuries in the U.S. alone — with insurance — account for almost $33 billion annually. Without insurance, many Floridians, like Americans in every state, would have nowhere to turn.
This decision also sparked a renewal of the discussion for health care expansion. If that were to come about, 800,000 Florida residents, who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, would be covered. The news of this ruling is huge for many Floridians, though the state will still need to address the coverage gap remaining for low-income, working residents. However, to do this, they may have to get around their own legislators, many of whom are calling for the repeal of Obamacare, which they would replace with more conservative plans.