In a 6-3 decision that upholds a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court has held that the premium tax credits under IRC Section 36B are not limited solely to taxpayers who live in states that have established a health insurance Exchange. Rather, the credits (also known as health insurance subsidies), which are designed to make health insurance affordable for taxpayers who meet certain qualifying requirements, are also available to taxpayers residing in states that participate in the federal Exchange.
The dispute centered around whether the phrase “an Exchange established by the state” meant that only people who bought insurance from state Exchanges were eligible for the premium tax credits. The Supreme Court concluded that the logical interpretation was that the subsidies were intended to be available for insurance purchased on any Exchange—State or Federal.
The decision, King v. Burwell, puts an end to what many thought was one of the most likely efforts to defeat “Obamacare,” which despite its critics has supplied millions of individuals with affordable health insurance coverage.