The Supreme Court Saves Obamacare, Again

Jun 26, 2015 · 581 comments
robert garcia (Reston, VA)
Love they editorial cartoon. ACA is a band-aid. Nor we need the real cure - single payer!
John David (Branson, MO)
Some day in the not near future, a conservative dominated Court will rely on King v Burwell ruling, and allow a Republican President to reinterpret a law to fit his/her vision. And liberals will come to rue the King ruling because it undermines the rule of law. Justice is now longer blind or unbiased. Yesterday's ruling is a tragedy for our republic.
Tough Dem (Southern California)
The President did not " interpret the law" congress wrote the law , interpreting the law is the job of the U.S. Supreme Court. The GOP has fought it tooth and nail and finally a Republican Chief Justice wrote the majority opinion that established its legality. Justice has been served and it it is unbiased and a judicial tragedy has been averted.
Steven (Cranford, NJ)
King v. Burwell supports no such thing . . .
ernesto (washington dc)
Scalia's sharp legal mind in dissent consisted mainly of sarcasm and juvenile quips (SCOTUScare!).

Apparently he has no qualms about being an unelected judge when he is in the majority.
Gary Dolan (Lincoln Nebraska)
One should respect the position, not necessarily the person, and in doing so I am convinced that Scalia is just a wee bit unbalanced, despite his position.
NI (Westchester, NY)
Two for Two!! I am feeling very optimistic right now seeing the great mood the Supreme Court Justices are in now. I wish the Citizens' United was also up for a hearing in the Supreme Court. In the present milieu, I feel that Citizens' United would have been overturned. That would have been three for three!
eegee1 (GA)
What recourse does a citizenry have when one of the senior members of the Supreme Court is clearly not of "sound mind?" Should Mr Scalia not be counseled to retire from the Court?
lydgate (Virginia)
Alito and Thomas joined Scalia's intemperate dissent. In Alito's case, I am surprised that he would permit his name to be appended to such an over-the-top rant.
Mark (Cheboyagen, MI)
Scalia and Thomas- national embarrassments.
Mike (San Diego)
The title's off. A party cannot be honestly said to have saved a thing that it imperiled in the first place.

The Supreme Court maintained their impartiality and remained competent is the best that can be said.
Ed Burke (Long Island, NY)
The Rightwing has decided to wage war on Jesus Christ who said 'when I was sick you cared for me' to those enroute to heaven on Judgment Day. When I was sick, and you cared for me not ' is among the reasons those enroute to hell are about to depart. For a political movement always trying to cast itself as uber-Christians, the Republicans seem to like war, the death penalty, and victimizing the poor enough to make that claim to Christianity a tad bogus.
Reaper (Denver)
Progress. Now let's move forward and take health care to version 0.2. Moving forward in DC is another question. To bad Thomas Paine can't run with Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren would make for a close second.
Lightfoot (Letters)
The issue is not health care. Obama Care voids citizen's right to freely contract for one's own benefit. If the Federal Government has such broad constitutional authority over personal contracts, the government has such authority over all other citizen's right to contract. Giving up individual rights for personal gain and the welfare state is a self imposed death sentence !?
steve stewart (boulder co)
Have you ever tried to explain the US healthcare debate to a colleague in; Switzerland, UK or Canada. How can 1/2 our country so violently oppose affordable healthcare for so many?? The position of the ACA haters is indefensible, and without precedent in the 1st world. Would they also like to repeal Medicare for the elderly on their way to church on Sunday where they fake caring about the poor?
G. Johnson (NH)
Well, "American Exceptionalism" requires holding fingers in one's ears and loudly humming God Bless America (or Dixie) whenever a European accent is detected.
hm1342 (NC)
"How can 1/2 our country so violently oppose affordable healthcare for so many??"

Why don't you give us your opinion as to why 1/2 of the country "violently opposes" the ACA. Give it your best shot.
David Lockmiller (San Francisco)
Is it not remarkable what our system of government with its "separate, but equal" three branches of government is able to accomplish? The "mistakes" of one branch of government can be corrected.

Wikipedia reports:

A case in point is The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, a federal statute that was the first bill signed into law by President Obama. The Act amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and states that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new paycheck affected by that discriminatory action.

The law directly addressed Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618 (2007), a "5-4 majority vote" U.S. Supreme Court decision that the statute of limitations for presenting an equal-pay lawsuit begins on the date that the employer makes the initial discriminatory wage decision, not at the date of the most recent paycheck.

The Ledbetter decision was cited by federal judges in 300 cases before the LLFPA was passed. These cases involved not only Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, but also the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Fair Housing Act, Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act and Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

In short, an “interpretive jiggery-pokery” decision by one branch of our democratic government (a Supreme Court 5-4 decision) was corrected by the two other branches of our government (a correcting Senate and House bill was signed into law by the President).
Josh (Bronx, NY)
Excuse me, the majority itself admitted that these four words were yet another example of the "inartful drafting" that plagues the ACA, but ultimately resolved the ambiguity by looking to the wider structure and context of the Act. Let's call a spade a spade: whatever you think about the wisdom of the ACA, it is poorly drafted.
Robert (Out West)
Let's also face the fact that this sort of thing happens all the time with legislation, and in the saner past, Congress has simply passed a Bill fixing the problem.
Chris (10013)
Much to the surprise of the left, the Supreme Court has done its work properly and without the political overtones feared by some. This has little to do with the law and the quality of the outcomes but of the constitution and the role of the legislature. The law remains a Rube Goldberg mess that prioritized coverage through taxes over restructuring. It continues a fee for service model that gives Americans lower quality care at much much higher costs. It's less about the insurance companies and much more about the basic fee for service model coupled with an already highly regulated market that establishes high wages, high reimbursement and a flawed regulatory model. The law remains simply a tax system that preserves the current deformed system
Robert McKee (Nantucket, MA.)
To purposely deny thousands of people access to health care unless they have enough money to buy it could easily result in sickness and even death for those underfunded people… If I didn't know better I might think this is some kind of slow-motion biological terrorism...
hm1342 (NC)
Says the Editorial Board, "This is one of the things government was built to do: provide all Americans with access to quality, affordable and often-lifesaving health care."

Not at the federal level, and arguably not even at the state level. Government exists primarily for two functions - protection of life and property. After that it's whatever the population decides through its government. But we are so far removed from the original concept it looks like government is the master instead of the servant.

The Board conveniently forgets the Democrats and the President famously (and repeatedly) saying; "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it", or "The average cost will be reduced by $2,500 per family". Based on those metrics, is the Affordable Care Act a success? Based on the number of part time jobs created in order for employers to avoid paying health care costs, is the Affordable Care Act a success? Is the Affordable Care Act successful because it forces you to purchase health care coverage or pay a fine?

Justice Roberts may defer to the legislature so as not to "undo what has been done", but can anyone on the Board show me any wording in the Constitution, whether stated or implied, giving the federal government the power to compel you to buy a product or service? If not, then my position is the ACA is unconstitutional, period.
Robert (Out West)
1. You're making an "enumerated powers," argument tjat's way out of the mainstream, and directly contradictory of all sorts of things you believe in--like the fact that there's nothing in the Constitution saying that government can regulate abortion, or promising the right to tote a loaded assault rifle into a Starbuck's.

2. The answer to all your questions is: well, yeah. There are excellent surveys of ahat works and what doesn't available through kff.org, and on the NYT "Health," page. You should use them.

3. The first Federal mandate to buy insurance happened about 1793: merchant sailors were required to buy coverage. Look it up.
hm1342 (NC)
"1. You're making an "enumerated powers," argument"

Exactly, whether you care to consider it out of the "mainstream" or not. Justice Roberts wrote his opinion based on what he thought the intent of the ACA was. I am basing my opinion on what I believe the intent of the Constitution was (and still is).

"2. The answer to all your questions is: well, yeah."

Tell the people who had what they considered good health care coverage but couldn't keep it because of the ACA that it's a success...go ahead.

"3. The first Federal mandate to buy insurance happened about 1793: merchant sailors were required to buy coverage."

It's not the province of the FEDERAL government to do any of that. Tell me where in the Constitution the FEDERAL government has the power to compel you to buy a product or service, whether enumerated or implied.
Byron Chapin (Chattanooga)
To my Evangelical social conservative friends: How can you call yourselves Christians while fighting this legislation tooth and nail?
hm1342 (NC)
How much of your own money are you willing to give to our beneficent federal government to ease your conscience?
Robert (Out West)
Well, since it's a lot cheaper than just waiting to pay the whole cost of care for the deadbeats and the poor...
hm1342 (NC)
"Well, since it's a lot cheaper than just waiting to pay the whole cost of care for the deadbeats and the poor..."

Cost is distorted because the government is involved to a large degree, and the health care industry is all too eager to glom on to that.
JEH (Sag Harbor)
This is huge. I experienced the reformation of the Swiss health care system and, for that little country, it was also a drawn-out political battle. They also subsidize families that cannot afford it - and the percentage of the population subsidized is higher than in the US. Both systems are private. Conserving a private system is extremely complicated WHEN YOU CANNOT MANDATE HEALTHCARE INSURANCE.
Recently, 60 minutes did a great job in informing the American people about the fact that Medicare cannot negotiate drug prices. The result is that Americans pay a disproportionate amount of the money for drug research for the benefit of the whole world. Yes, pharmaceutical research IS expensive, BUT drugs don't have to between 50% to 80% more expensive than any other country of the world! This is where improvements can be made in terms of cost containment. Physicians are beginning to react (oncologists).
The debate on health care showed that our system no longer debates factually. In the growing complexity of our world, this can become a reason for decline. It has to stop if we are to lead the world.
atwork5 (Milwaukee, WI)
I was dumbfounded when they put that no negotiation clause in Bush's medicare drug expansion. It speaks to the power of lobbyists and how the legislative branch is often controlled by special interests even when they try to do the right thing.
Jack McHenry (Charlotte, NC)
Perhaps now the Congress can focus its attention on the rigged healthcare markets that allow Big Pharma, device manufacturers, hospitals et. al. to charge far more for their goods and services than in most other countries of equivalent economic stature. Oh, I forgot. Congress worked with healthcare lobbyists to create the problem in the first place. That's the only reason it doesn't qualify for prosecution under the RICO laws.
Oneputtwonputt (NJ)
Many have discussed the next logical step of a single payer system or expansion of Medicare for all and elimination of the for profit insurance companies. Currently 1.5% is deducted from our paychecks for Medicare. What if we doubled that or raised it to 4%, would we not have enough revenue to pay for every ones healthcare?
Kay Helper (Boston)
Words DO have meaning, in context. In the phrase "separation of church and state" I always thought "church" referred to any religion and "state" referred to a governmental body, not Louisiana, or Oregon or Ohio. I'm pretty sure it does, so why wasn't this case settled in a day?
robert garcia (Reston, VA)
It would be great for the Republican presidential candidate to run on an anti-ACA platform in 2016. Maybe Grand Oblivion Party's fate will be sealed once and for all.
Yuwei Li (NJ)
It's hard to imagine why the richest country in the world can spend $5 trillion on 2 wars but doesn't give its citizens universal healthcare.

Now we are heading in the right direction but we're not there yet.

Single payer system is the way to go.
Richard Conn Henry (Baltimore)
"a preposterous legal claim" Yes. And yet three Supreme Court justices voted to deeply damage the health of our country, on specious grounds. Is there no way to remove these three cretins from their perchs? They are lampreys attached to a trout!
Oneputtwonputt (NJ)
Not only do more people have health insurance but because of ACA's lifetime caps they can not be financially destroyed by an illness or accident.
JOK (Fairbanks, AK)
It's ludicrous that they had to "depart" from "a natural reading" of the law in order to rationalize it.
TheraP (Midwest)
If Scalia had his way,

We would all have

Scalia-Scare

To fall back on.

Let's move on to True healthcare reform with single payer for all, non fee-for-service, negotiation of drug fees Medicare for all. Do this in 5-year increments, starting with age 60 and up, then 55 and up, etc. In 13 years we would join the rest of the first world!
Roy Brophy (Minneapolis, MN)
Put away the party hats, this isn't over.
Roberts was too smart to give the Democrats a campaign issue like this so he will wait until after the election and then sink it.
The Roberts Majority on the court is a Republican Majority, not a Conservative Majority. It has no judicial philosophy, it just wants to promote the Republican Party and the power of the rich to rule.
If you look to the recent past: Citizens United and the voting rights decisions you can see Roberts will distort history and twist logic any way necessary to preserve Republican Rule.
After the election Roberts will destroy ACA because that's what the rich want.
CharlieY (Illinois)
Scalia is nuts. He nees to be removed.
rugbyplaer (NYC, NY)
Remove, Scalia, and Thomas will be totally lost, so he will resign shortly afterward.
Bennett (Massachusetts)
It's all well and good that the number of uninsured has dropped significantly. But what about the cost? How have premiums reacted? I hear very little on this issue from supporters of the law. I personally know many individuals who have seen they're monthly payments go up. Significantly. This may not be the norm but I have yet to hear evidence to the contrary. Seems to me that ACA created significantly more demand, without addressing flip side that is supply, creating a concerning market dislocation. Costs have nowhere to go but up. Basic economics. A solution to healthcare should consider equally benefits and their associated costs. I'm afraid what is in place now has concerned itself with former to the detriment of the latter.
Barry Pressman (Lady Lake, FL)
I cannot fathom the moral quality of those who have opposed this most important safeguard to our citizens' health. Have they no conscience? Have they sold their souls to the devil for a few ducats? Or, do they find enjoyment in the suffering of others for sadistic motives? Just what makes them tick?
Joe (White Plains)
I cannot help but note the similarity between the dead ender, Republican opposition to the ACA and die hard refusal of some in the South to abandon the symbols of rebellion. Those who fly the confederate flag stubbornly claim that they do so to preserve their link with history and heritage, while ignoring the shameful and monstrous nature of that heritage. The Civil War caused the deaths of a half million Americans in a cause to preserve human bondage. Likewise, the Republican opponents of the ACA cling to the myth that the law is not working (it is); that it is enlarging the deficit (it isn’t); and that their opposition is not based on a desire to deprive millions of Americans of a benefit that prolongs their life (it certainly appears to be just that). They ignore the fact that their actions, if successful, will result in widespread misery, suffering and early death. It is no coincidence that these two self deceiving groups have such a large overlap.
toner50 (nyc)
kangaroo court with J Roberts it is a tax/not a tax ruling in the first case a by product of his shady adoption of Irish children ...against Irish Law and used by the powers that be to be blackmail.

Our whole government, Boehner and company are all compromised by various deeds that the NSA/FBI/EX branch all know and use when they need it.

These people are like Hassert....our representatives are corrupt and compromised by the puppet master to vote for trade deals and other nation destroying laws.
I weep for America...it is over and has been fundamentally transformed.
watsonaqua (new york)
In reading Roberts's majority opinion against Scalia's dissent, it is clear that the Court's decision is correct. The majority's core argument is that an isolated, badly-worded phrase buried deep in a sub-sub-subsection of the Act should not be read literally if it would both conflict with other provisions of the Act and undermine the clear Congressional intent of the Act. This compelling argument crushes Scalia's strident but hollow complaints. I have no doubt that Scalia was motivated by his obvious disdain for the Act and that, if the case had concerned legislation that he favored, he would have led the charge to dismiss the wording defect as a non-issue. It is disappointing to see his formidable intellectual gifts so transparently subverted by his political instincts.
RCT (New York, N.Y.)
SCOTUSblog commentators accurately describe Scalia's dissent as an Amelia Bedelia – absurdly literalist – reading of the statute. The commentator also point out that Scalia's effort to provide a plausible reading for the statue in itself proves Roberts' point that it can be read in more than one way and is therefore ambiguous.

More than that however school he is bitter and contorted effort to force an absurd reading on millions of Americans, which notably includes a long rant about last year's decision upholding the AHA mandate as a tax, betrays political motives and resolve to defeat the statute at any price includes a long rant about last year's decision upholding the AHA mandate as a tax, betrays Political motivation and determination to defeat the statue at any price.

Scalia's rage and hostility are frightening. It is not SCOTUS that we have to worry about it is SCOTUSscare– A Supreme Court Justice who is so antsgonistic toward a law or policy that he is willing to go to any lengths of logical absurdity to defeat it.
ComradeBrezhnev (Morgan Hill)
So the Supreme's job is to interpret and support the intent of a law, regardless of what is written? Weren't the subsidies structured per the challenge to encourage states to enact their own exchanges? And having failed at that technique, the Court is to ignore that? At least now we know.
Rob (Mukilteo WA)
The Americans who ,because of the ACA ,got full access to healthcare include nephews and nieces of mine,their spouses and their children.This challenge was an attempt to take it away from them.In their reactions to this correct ruling by the SCOTUS,the GOP Presidential candidates,and the GOP members of Congress make clear their commitment to taking away 6.4 million peoples' first healthcare coverage ever through repeal,which will prove a valuable gift to the Democratic Presidential candidate next year,most likely Hillary Clinton.Because the GOP commitment to taking healthcare away from millions of Americans,and making it far more expensive for millions of others assures her that many current supporters of Bernie Sanders,such as me,will ,without hesitation,support and vote for Hillary .Because while Bernie is right that the ACA needs improving,for that to even be possible it must first be preserved as is.
sunlight (CT)
"This is one of the things government was built to do: provide all Americans with access to quality, affordable and often-lifesaving health care." The Founding fathers would find this statement quite enlightening. I always thought in our free market system that we all had "access." Now I guess I have to pay for those who don't work for it. What should I pay for next? As we bankrupt our government what will the wise Editorial writers be willing to pay for so we can all have "access." I have never found the "government" to run anything better than the private sector and wonder where it can be shown that it does.
JohnLB (Texas)
"Now I guess I have to pay for those who don't work for it."

That would generally be people without jobs, including children and low-income adults with children, plus adults with disabilities. It might shock you to learn that they are already covered under Medicaid and have been for quite a while, long before the ACA passed. The ACA extended coverage to adults with jobs that offered no health insurance and did not pay enough for the employee to buy it on the individual market. That would include some low-income adults, with jobs, who would be eligible for Medicaid expansion. For the rest, the exchanges are the mechanism. Beneficiaries do pay premiums and a share of the costs. The coverage gap, in short, was mainly low-income working adults.

Then again, you may favor the old system: Go to the ER and stiff the providers for the bill.
Dan M (New York, NY)
While I agree with the Court's decision and Justice Roberts reasoning, I strongly disagree with the Editorial Boards assertion that Justices Scalia, Alito and Thomas have a clear 'disdain" for the law. All three have great respect for the law; Scalia more perhaps than any other Justice. All three interpret laws in a more literal way. Justice Roberts on the other hand looked to the Congressional intent. The Editorial Board is using a tactic that has become much too common in our political discourse; attacking and demonizing those with a different opinion.
Brad (NYC)
I can make an irrefutable argument for term limits for the Supreme Court in just two words: Justice Scalia.
bill (NYC)
Misleading headline. The court didn't save the ACA, it just swatted away another frivolous attack by simply affirming what the law already is.
John (new orleans)
If the goal was health insurance, then the ACA is successful. If the goal is affordable healthcare, than it has been quite unsuccessful. More people are insured, but many more can no longer afford to use their health insurance due to cost. When the President refers to reducing the cost of healthcare, that is a false claim. Cost increases for premiums are not rising as fast as before, but the overall cost to use the insurance are 40 to 50% higher when factoring in co-pays and deductibles.

We should step back from the partisan political rhetoric and speak truthfully and frankly. People are dying and their health is suffering due to the politics surrounding healthcare in the US. This law is a travesty - is a a convoluted mess designed to appease health providers, insurers, and politicians seeking re-election. If the goal is affordable, quality health care then this is a huge failure. Only a small fraction of our healthcare dollar is paid to providers of care - that vast majority of our healthcare dollars are spent on insurance, administration, bureaucracy, accountants, the IRS, and other not care related expenses. We could do so much more with so much less if we stopped the political infighting and concentrated on providing care, not appeasing special interests and career politicians.
Phil (Buffalo)
We expect competent, intelligent, independent Justices to sit in the SCOTUS - 9 of them. NOT 7 with 2 always voting the same. Why does Clarence Thomas even bother to show up. He's an embarassment for the legal system and is contrary to the laws governing SCOTUS. He should either have an epiphany and have his first original thought of his life or step down.
Applarch (Lenoir City TN)
The three Justices in the minority previously voted to overturn the precedent that funds for a federal program can be withheld if a State does not implement a program. Specifically, they ruled in the first ACA case that states could not be denied Medicaid funding for failing to expand Medicaid.

In the most recent ruling, these same Justices found a threat to states in a plain-language interpretation of the law. But rather than ruling that such threats are unconstitutional, as they had before, they instead set themselves up as enforcers of the threat.

In short, the Justices who protected states from a threatening Federal law later became central parties to an equally onerous (although considerably more nebulous) threat.

The only consistency in these diametrically opposed positions is that both undermined the law.

They are just revealed not as Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States of America but as partisan operators in robes.
P RAY (Hartford)
However...the government has seen fit to charge back their portion of the premium via the IRS if you lose your job and end up on Medicaid, which was worse than the penalty than not having it. Either way, they get their full premium. So, no only does a single unemployed mom not have enough to support their family, they get penalized for having used the government's insurance program to begin with.
Carey (Brooklyn NY)
How is when the Supreme Court holds to its Constitutional role by use of “strict interpretation” opponents accuse the Justices of political prejudice and acting beyond the scope of their powers? When the same principle of “strict interpretation” was applied in Howell v. Hobby Lobby, 573 US, conservatives hailed the Court’s decision to exempt closely held private corporations from a law its owners religiously object to. Judicial opinion cuts both ways, (as it’s designed to) for the protection the “people” against the tyranny of the masses or the powerful. As Justice Roberts pointed out during his confirmation hearing “…Judges are not politicians.” The power to create, reverse and amend legislation rightfully belongs in the hands of Congress. Attempting to use the Supreme Court as an “end around” method of avoiding Congressional responsibility is a misuse of our system’s checks and balances.
fact or friction? (maryland)
Perhaps a more appropriate title would have been "Republicans Fail to Stop Affordable Health Care Act, Yet Again."
Michael Ebner (Lake Forest, IL)
I am surprised how little attention -- including this editorial -- is devoted to Chief Justice Roberts' mentions of the Massachusetts health care plan of 1996 as a model for the Affordable Care Act championed by President Obama.

Without ever mentioning then-Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts per se, I think that this aspect of the majority opinion coyly -- yet unmistakably -- resurrected a key policy issue that was in play during the presidential election of 2012.

This leads me to wonder how much longer the Affordable Care Act will remain in play in the national political colloquy.

During Dwight Eisenhower's campaign for the presidency in 1952 he very purposefully opted not to promise the termination -- or substantial reform of -- Social Security.

Why? Because Eisenhower fully understood that Social Security had become deeply embedded some sixteen years after its enactment during the Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Not until the presidential campaign of Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964 was the prospect of terminating Social Security again placed on the table.

That decision by Senator Goldwater, among others, helped to create the unprecedented Democratic landslide that gave Lyndon B. Johnson a full term as president as well as a veto-proof Democratic congressional majority.
hm1342 (NC)
"Not until the presidential campaign of Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964 was the prospect of terminating Social Security again placed on the table.

That decision by Senator Goldwater..."

And look what we have to show for it: two huge entitlement/benefit programs (Social Security and Medicare) that are unsustainable in their current form. I fear we have created yet another financial monster with the ACA...it's just going to take 40 years for most people to recognize it.
rossor (Virginia)
Scalia's "words have no meaning" dissent reads more like a letter from a jilted teen after a sudden break up. Perhaps Roberts now understands the conservative wing is shaped by personality disorders, not actual judicial reasoning.
RTB (Washington, DC)
Kudos to the SCOTUS. ACA is far from perfect, but it is an improvement over what we had. Let's hope it is the first step towards a truly affordable, comprehensive public option that provides coverage for all Americans.

I too believe that insurance companies simply inflate the cost of healthcare without adding value, but I accept that it would have been politically impossible to achieve a public option in one fell swoop in light of the fevered opposition that ACA engendered.

The goal of those of us who support a public option that excludes insurance companies is to continue to persuade our fellow Americans that such a system is just and moral. We have a long way to go in winning that argument. Best to see it as a generational struggle, not unlike the great struggles for equal rights that at long last we appear to have won.
Old lawyer (Tifton, GA)
The argument by the opponents of the ACA in this case was basically that federal subsidies were dependent on the type of exchange from which the insurance issued, to-wit, an exchange established by state or by the federal government. That is an asinine distinction from the start and would not have been drawn even by our gridlocked Congress. The Times is correct in stating that the Supreme Court should not have taken review of the case to begin with.
Martita (Austin, Texas)
It all depends on your reading of Justice Scalia's dissent. It immediately struck me as: SCOTU-Scare
Rick Harris (Durham, NC)
When this Court invalidated the Voting Rights Act in Holder, Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito concluded the clear intent of Congress didn't represent a legitimate legislative action, turning the 15th Amendment to dust. Now, in the minority, they assert that four ill-considered words, abstracted from 500 pages of legislation, inconsistent with other phases and legislature's intent, should invalidate the Affordable Healthcare Act. In this, as in other legal opinions, those three justices are guided by a political ideology, rather than a legal philosophy.
Donald Driver (Green Bay)
The aspect that most of you are struggling with to understand is this: in order to insure the previously uninsurable, many people will be paying much higher premiums than previously. Many people who were unable to purchase insurance had ailments that made it cost prohibitive to buy insurance on the open market. The law is great for them, but now even more Americans will be stuck at their current salaries for the next few decades. As a worker, you cost your employer your salary + your benefits, and if healthcare costs are going up, and they will, then your boss needs to pay you less - or at least not give you a raise. No lifetime max will also be a cost that needs to be factored in by the insurance industry. Healthcare is not a right, and it's certainly outside of the government's responsibility. We have a lot of unfunded liabilities to deal with, and this makes the problem worse.
steve snow (suwanee,georgia)
However it's parsed or dissected or argued, one thing is crystalline clear to me. This decision from the Supreme Court, shorn of politics, has allowed admittance to millions of Americans into the protections of health care. How could this possibly be considered a bad thing?
Josh (Grand Rapids, MI)
Relax, Mr President, with the TPP moving forward and the ACA's 3rd (!) trip to the Supreme Court successful, your legacy is assured. You should fly Air Force 1 to Pebble Beach and hit the links to celebrate..
Susan (New York, NY)
Once again the Republicans are whining and complaining about ACA. But they have NEVER come up with a better idea. Why is that? Is there not one of them that has a better idea???????????
CHET MCMILLAN (TORONTO)
This is a great victory for the president but the burning question for me is when will justice Thomas come down on the right side of history. I think if there was a court decision to determine if slavery was legal in this country he would vote that it is legal. He must have removed all mirrors in his home.
John Dooley (Minneapolis, MN)
Good for Pres. Obama and his law. And good for the people who are using it to get insurance when it was unavailable before.
Bad for the people who are stuck paying higher premiums, get higher deductibles and fewer health care choice options. But who cares about those people anyway?
Pres. Obama should send a "thank you" note to his predecessor for appointing Judge Roberts; he who has this strange habit of saving a caviler President from himself and the sloppily crafted laws that he signs.
Chin up, Obama dissenters! ObamaCare now has to stand on its own merits. It remains unpopular with the public, 54% against and 39% for (06/10/2015 WA Post/ABC poll). The GOP 2016 Pres. candidates have a solid campaign issue with the law, and now with future SCOTUS appointments also. And of course, any law can be repealed.
This SCOTUS decision lauded by the Presidents supporters may prove a case where one should be careful about what one wishes for.
Robert (Out West)
Well, congrats: ALL your numbers are wrong.
G. Sears (Johnson City, Tenn.)
“The drop (in the number of uninsured) was significantly greater in states that expanded Medicaid through the health reform law than in those that did not.

This is one of the things government was built to do: provide all Americans with access to quality, affordable and often-lifesaving health care.“

Yes and no.

Yes there has been a drop in the numbers of uninsured, and those facing the impossible constraints attendant to preexisting conditions now have guaranteed access.

No, the ACA is long way from providing Americans with access to QUALITY, AFFORDABLE, and often-lifesaving health care.

Medicade especially is hardly healthcare parody compared to Medicare or anything but the most austere non-governmental health insurance plans, and its acceptance is steadily shrinking.

Affordiability, despite expanded enrollments and subsidies is still out of control as healthcare costs continue to skyrocket.

The Supreme Court acted credibly and in balanced way in strongly deciding as it did, but one wonders if King v. Burwell should have ever been recognized.

Even with this decision and ACA in place, America remains at the bottom of the heap in terms of its healthcare quality and affordability compared to most other first-world countries.

Given our partisan political impasse, the prospects for going the rest of the distance looks bleak.
Gemma (Austin, TX)
As I discovered recently when I looked into getting coverage for my son turning 26 next month, the least expensive minimum coverage insurance plans available through the ACA have such high deductibles that a relatively healthy person will never use them, they cover only generic drugs, and of course "in network" is the operative word (so much for "choice"). So people may have "coverage" but that does not mean that they have affordable access to health care, just catastrophe coverage. Meanwhile, the cost of their premiums, the benefits of which they will likely not use, are pure subsidies to the profit mongering insurance companies (CORPORATE AMERICA), facilitated by the government. Perhaps health care costs will go down from the ACA, but insurance premiums are UP. It is disgusting and anybody who truly wanted health care reform cannot honestly be rejoicing over this pathetic "victory".
Robert (Out West)
This simply isn't true, and why's a 26 year old man need his mom to go find him insurance?
henry (italy)
henry italy 2 hours ago

Scalia, Scalito and Roberts.. three justices with parents/grandparents who could have used obamacare...Go figure....ht

Sorry. I meant Thomas..
Bob (Atlanta)
Wow, don't those states that wasted millions on establishing exchanges feel the suckers today. They followed the clear language and intent of the law to learn they were conned. Conned into wasting millions of their citizen's money. But sacrifices must be made.

Insurance company stocks soared! Now how can that be?

A law sold like home siding. Sold with deceit delivering nothing resembling what was promised. The Obama/Chavez camel nose under the tent. Yea, this will be wonderful for the little guy.
Blue (Not very blue)
I wonder what Scalia would say if the best healthcare taxpayers can buy for him was stripped from him and he earned below the median income and lived in a state that is obstructing ACA? In other words, if he had to live like regular folks he might seriously reconsider his words.
hm1342 (NC)
What if it was stripped from all government employees? What if employers were no longer required to provide health care coverage? What if I could buy health care coverage from any company I cared to choose, no matter what state it was located in? Do you think health care companies would be scrambling to provide better coverage at lower costs just to remain in business? I think so...but we'll NEVER find out as long as our current system is in place.
D. DeMarco (Baltimore, MD)
ScaliaCare is much more appropriate.
Carolyn (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
"This is one of the things government was built to do: provide all Americans with access to quality, affordable and often-lifesaving health care."

Except in the case of my family, which will have to dump insurance because the insurance company keeps jacking up the rates, this time by 20 percent.
I wish the NYT would do the favor - even in editorials - of telling the whole story. There are millions of us, too, the ones that will pay fines but be uninsured. Is that the New York Times idea of just and fair practice??
The NYT claims that the number of uninsured has dropped to 16.3 percent. I don't believe that statistic. I'm sure it's been tweaked to support our not-so-honest, oligarchic president. But no doubt, in the next year or two, millions more will be forced out of insurance altogether, because so many can't support the parasitic insurance companies and their choking grip on the public and the economy, and the government will be forced to more accurately reflect the real count by virtue incessant testimonials.
Diatribe (Richmond, Va.)
"It was a grandly orchestrated charade sold to people who were already furious about the law..."

I know people who are "furious" about the law, furious about positively affecting climate - just plain furious. These people should thank their lucky stars that they have no real problems
penna095 (pennsylvania)
"Its core claim . . . was preposterous."

Republicans have become anti-American. It is beginning to look like the Hollywood actor president was both their high, and low, water-mark, sending the woefully out-of-step G.O.P on a pathway to the ash-heap of history.
Bill Benton (San Francisco)
We DO need Medicare for All, and we do NOT need Obamacare, which is purely a subsidy to the thieving insurance companies.

To see what else we need, watch Comedy Party Platform on YouTube (2 min 9 sec) then Send a Buck to Bernie.
Rob (Charlotte)
Scalia is disingenuous. He's one of three Americans who thinks Congress can be expected to write clearly. Holding Congress to an elementary school Engkish paper test may at first seem appealing, but the challenges of drafting a long and complex statute are sure to create mistakes in usage, etc., even in the best situation--and drafting legislation isn't the best situation. The intended meaning is clear in the context of the entire statute. Scalia's interpretation, if it prevailed, would have irreparably injured millions. His adolescent and immature jurisprudence is regrettable and distressing. Even more troubling, it seems he's motivated by a dislike of the statute. thank goodness the other six have perspective, judicial restraint, and common sense.
Adirondax (mid-state New York)
In this editorial the writer(s) never once refer to the law in question by anything other than the appropriate ACA, or Affordable Care Act.

Yet your headline uses the propaganda word brought to you by the same right wing zealots who pursued their case once again all the way to the Supreme Court. The manufactured and propaganda term "Obamacare" has no place anywhere in the NY Times.

The use and intent of the word "Obamacare" is clear. It implies that our mixed race president is handing out federal freebies to other African Americans. That couldn't be further from the truth. This law, if nothing else, is color blind.

To assist in the promulgation of this propaganda term does every reader of the Times a disservice, to say nothing of the nation.
Prometheus (NJ)
>

I think you are sadly mistaken if you think the GOP is going to change its ways as to the ACA. In other words, they are NOT going to pick up their marbles and go home now. They'll keep their powder dry until 2016, and then I fully expect them to double-down. This is their style. Look we are just now getting them to agree to take down the Confederate battle flag.
FXQ (Cincinnati)
Now that people can purchase affordable health care without having to rely on their employer, more people can retire earlier, or avoid having to enter or reenter the labor force. This will open up thousands of positions to younger people entering the labor force and looking for employment.
Cicero's Warning (Long Island, NY)
While the Board is saying that the lawsuit was frivolous, and gives credit to Justice Roberts for saving the law beyond the politics of the next president, we should remember that Justice Roberts also provided political cover for Republicans and Justice Scalia by saying that the challenger's claim was a more "natural" reading of the law. This is simply not true, but was the effort of a conservative Justice (Roberts) to make the right ruling and stay on the right side of history while simultaneously justifying the Republican case, and allowing Justice Scalia the opportunity to rail against another "tortured reading" of a law, further feeding the flames of conservative resentment against an activist judiciary, and allowing him make himself even more of a conservative celebrity jurist with the "SCOTUS-care" comment.

While I'm pleased that Justice Roberts made the right decision on health care once again, his opinion only further strengthens what I believe will be the historian's take on the Roberts court - that it is one of the most political in history.
Bernard Freydberg (Slippery Rock, PA)
Time for that bloviating fool Antonin Scalia to hang up his robe for good. He has become the Donald Trump of our highest court. The great philosopher Immanuel Kant separated understanding (which Scalia) supposedly has) from judgment (which he lacks). Kant properly called lack of judgment "stupidity," an apt characterization of this now useless justice.
Gfagan (PA)
I've said it before and I say it again: in any normal country a political party that worked unstintingly for six years to strip millions of citizens of their access to healthcare would be dead in the water.

What is wrong with America that that party here enjoys substantial support and is rewarded at the polls? What does that say about us as a nation?

The ACA is a deeply flawed law and, in my view, doesn't nearly go far enough in ensuring that all Americans have access to healthcare. We should have a national system funded by taxes, like the rest of the developed world.

But for the GOP, the ACA -- their OWN idea, remember -- is a sort of Stalinist plot. One chap is quoted in a NYT article today as saying "I don't have the freedom NOT to buy health care." What planet does someone like that live on? We all need health care. We are all of us going to fall ill at some stage in our lives. Why would you conceivably NOT want to have access to health care? Does he have a death wish? How perverse does your worldview have to be to see the provision of access to health care as a brand of government tyranny?

The public dissatisfaction with the ACA is often assumed to come from the right-wing, but I think a good portion of it comes from people like me, who want to see government-provided healthcare given to all -- as is already the case for old people, veterans, and Congress.
NYHuguenot (Charlotte, NC)
"people like me, who want to see government-provided healthcare given to all -- as is already the case for old people, veterans, and Congress."

"old people" paid all their working lives into the Medicare system and continue to pay premiums in retirement as well as for a supplemental policy. Veterans paid for their coverage with arduous and dangerous service at times at the expense of limb and mind. Congress members and their staff are paying for their own with a subsidy from the Office Of Personnel Management.
The only people being given government provided healthcare are those on Medicaid.
Meredith (NYC)
What sophistry. Just what is the purpose of the Court? To hear absurd, obviously dishonest cases like this? What’s the purpose of govt? To work for corporate elites, or all the people? What’s the purpose of having voting? To serve as a fig leaf of plutocracy?

In our unique corporate paid election system, the answers are painfully obvious. We have to start working for change further back at an earlier stage in the chain of influence, and start changing the whole way our govt and politics are financed. Without this the majority will get no representation, no matter how many turn out to vote.

he rw court and rw politicians are all lying to us and themselves. Other countries look on in amazement at the US disgrace of a near complete corporate takeover.
MIMA (heartsny)
Very interesting the Republicans called the Affordable Care Act the death panel, when it was the Republicans who have been wanting to pull the plug by taking away the ACA from millions of people.

State Hospital Associations, other provider associations, and many health care providers, including myself, have witnessed first hand that the ACA is far from being a death panel.

If you call having people treated for their diabetes with insulin they have gone without, having orthopedic surgeries for old arthritic joints that needed replacement, but without insurance they could not afford, people knowing their children would be covered to the age of 26 if they are unable to find a job that offers health care insurance, people getting the chemo they need, or people having the ability to change jobs if they have a pre-existing health condition - if you dare call that a death panel, well then we just don't comprehend, do we?

To think the Republicans still, even after two Supreme Court decisions to uphold this legislation, and 50 other times have tried to do away with this law that has helped millions of people, still yak about "doing away with Obamacare" the rest of us really need to take care of those Republicans at the polls and send them on their way. President Obama is correct when he ended his Rose Garden talk with "Let's get to work" because obviously these Republican legislators who are wasting their time and our money on still resisting the ACA are Not doing their jobs.
M.I. Estner (Wayland, MA)
Justice Scalia has embarrassed himself and the Court. His sarcasm and his disrespect for those with whom he disagrees is simply narcissistic. He is an uncivil bully whose actions advocate for and contribute to the ever increasing uncivil behavior we see in government as well as the private sector. And his solipsistic diatribe clearly shows that he takes disagreement as criticism and takes criticism as a personal attack and then he attacks those who merely disagree with him.

Dear Justice Scalia, perhaps you missed the first day of Law 101. There are at least two sides in legal actions; at the end of a case, one side wins and the other loses; the losing side is never happy. That's the system of justice we have, sir, and mostly it works well. Given your position, being a poor loser is undignified, and you insult the dignity of the court. If you act disrespectfully of the Court, what do you expect of the general population?

And the foregoing applies as well to Justices Thomas and Alito who signed on to Scalia's opinion. They could have separated themselves from his venom by writing a short dissent stating simply that they believed that the plain meaning of the language was sufficient. Instead, they either willing joined in this repulsive temper tantrum or allowed themselves to be bullied by Scalia into joining the dissent.

The three of them have embarrassed the country. It is our Supreme Court after all.
MdGuy (Maryland)
Maybe now Scotus should parse and rule on the phrasing "death panels" in the ACA.
Frank Bannister (Dublin, Ireland)
What have justices Alito, Scalia and Thomas got against ordinary Americans?
PagCal (NH)
Why have all the GOP presidential hopefuls come out against the ACA? Don't they realize that most Americans now favor the ACA? It makes the GOP an easy target for Democrats in the election. All they have to do is drag out some woman or child that's been saved by the ACA and run the tape in a loop on national TV all the while showing clearly that the GOP wants to take all this away from them - to cast the aforementioned woman or child out into the street to die.

Yes, yes, the GOP, while in opposition, has used the ACA as a battle cry. But if they want to lead, this strategy doesn't work.

Here's an idea: Why doesn't the GOP embrace the ACA, but raise issues about cost controls - that if they were elected, they would bring down taxpayer costs with things like allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, or eliminate fee for service.
NRroad (Northport, NY)
The Times terms the Supreme Court case "blatantly political". Evidently expecting words to mean what they say is incompatible with progressivism. Nothing could be more political than the Times' incessant vituperative attacks on those who disagree with its politics. The paper is now solely the voice of leftist Democrats. Further, the court case is merely a symbol of the reckless inept tinkering the ACA does to healthcare and 17% of our economy. Recipients previously lacking health insurance(reportedly 13 million or 4% of us) have often benefited(if high deductibles and copays have not made their insurance unaffordable), 317 million(96%) of us have paid a high price in the quality and availability of care. Dysfunctional electronic medical records mandated by ACA have generated high costs, consumed enormous amounts of time otherwise available for patient care, and made the typical patient encounter a conversation during which the provider faces a PC screen while the patient faces the back of her/his head. Overweening bureaucracy mandates endless documentation and insurance companies have license to shrink networks and reimbursement for care. Physicians flock to hospital employment, which actually increases costs and creates faceoffs between huge hospital systems and huge insurance companies with the public interest comin in last. Some triumph.
Marilyn (France)
This decision is no surprise - if SCOTUS had decided for the plaintiffs then single payer Medicare for All would have become a campaign issue for 2016, and would have helped the Democrats. Justice Roberts actually helped the Republicans.
srwdm (Boston)
WHY must we call it Obamacare? It's healthcare legislation, and phenomenally inadequate—a bandaid on a gaping wound.

And why all the obsession with "legacy"—in particular, his legacy?

Is it the executive editor of the Times? I don't know.
Rod Palacios (Los Angeles, Calif)
All the industralized countries of the world have health care systems available to each and every one of their citizens. No electorate in those countries would ever dream of doing away with such arrangements. No sane politician there--all allies of the United States-- ever proposes to repeal or do away with those laws. Why should we be the only ones not entitled to such care? I imagine that some here would argue that that reality is not applicable to us here because we are exceptional, and as such, we are exempt from common sense.
John (Napa, Ca)
The big challenge with the ACA is so many people resenting the redistribution view of universal health care-why should I, after working so hard all my life, have to pay for some stranger's health care..... this will indeed be Hillary's biggest challenge. Even people that benefit from the ACA don't want to pay for someone else's health care-particurarly if they are of limited means. The reality is that a healthy population is a productive population and benefits all.
Linda (Kew Gardens)
There are parts of the law that are hurting Americans, and it's because of the way the health insurance industry plays this as a game when last year they raised premiums. Many Americans with coverage are feeling the pinch because their policies are being affected through either rise in premiums and deductibles or both, or eliminating many covered services. But like every other lobby in this country, they are protected. Imagine if every politician stood up to them.
rossor (Virginia)
Free enterprise demands insurance companies produce ever-higher returns for investors. But there was insistence on preserving insurance companies franchise. Until "single payer" becomes even more obvious as the most cost-efficient system, the corporate piper must be paid.
michjas (Phoenix)
I support the Supreme Court decision. But I find the editorial board's view unnecessarily tendentious. To claim that the case was preposterous and based on intentionally false premises is to argue both that plaintiffs brought the case in bad faith and that three of the justices rendered ridiculous opinions. Wise folks hesitate to cast such unmitigated insults at their ideological opponents. Those who use this kind of language against mainstream conservatives have few more forceful words for right wing extremists, who are truly preposterous. And using such insults to describe Justice Scalia, in particular, ignores the fact that he is deeply respected by a number of liberals on the court. The board lumps together conservatives and libertarians. That is a mistake as is this editorial, which inaccurately labels ideological opponents as evil when they are more appropriately described as badly mistaken.
SButler (Syracuse)
Perhaps they should have focused on Judge Thomas's clear conflicts of interest in even ruling on health care law due to his wife's lobbying which have been written about for years including years when he failed to disclose her activities as is required.
http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/07/29/groundswell-ginni-thomas-and-con...
Bill (new york)
Not in this instance. Scalia's rhetoric is over the top and political on its face. The Chief Justice himself in his opinion uses Scalias own writing and thinking in the 2012 case as a rationale for this. Scalia can't have it both ways. As to the conservative activists who brought the case, please read up on their motivations. It is clear their only motivation was to destroy the Act by any means possible not that they in any way truly believed their own arguments about this one sentence.
Tom Silver (NJ)
Though I disagree with some of what you say, in the main your point is very well taken.
Patrick (San Diego)
Historical footnote: two of the three serious challenges to ACA were based on avoidable faulty executions by staff--the latest an elementary proof-reading blunder.
Carl Hultberg (New Hampshire)
A law written by interns?
Bill Michtom (Portland, Ore.)
“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets"

THAT is the center of Roberts' (and Congess's) ideology: to improve *markets*, NOT to help US citizens.

The ACA unequivocally did that. It is not about health care, but about health insurance.
Lev Davidovitch Bronstein (reaching for the ozone)
Scalia has shown himself to be a lowlife political hack unworthy to sit on the Supreme Court. Impeach him immediately.
Rob (Bellevue, WA)
Hooray! Best news in months! Maybe years.
Yvonne (Seattle)
How much money did all of the lawyers make off of arguing this case? Wish the cash could have been spent on providing health care.
Joel Sanders (Montclair, NJ)
If the four contested words had no meaning, as decided by the majority, then why did 14 states set up their own exchanges? This decision is not a "powerful defense" of anything. It is judge-made law.
Bill (new york)
You are wrong as a matter of law.
Carl Hultberg (New Hampshire)
Both options, State and Federal run, were always available under the ACA. The typo involved referred back to the exchanges as state run only.
Ed C Man (HSV)
Why must it take a decision by SCOTUS to rebut Republican political policy and to put down one of the Republicans' hoped-for bad outcomes they continually push for the least powerful of our citizens?

In today's case, “least” classifies all those citizens who need assistance to afford medical insurance.

Typically, Republicans classify “least” citizens as all those who are not privileged by virtue of ways and means.

At the same time Republicans embrace, and are sustained by, a sufficient mass of not-priviledged citizens who are confounded by their Republican political rhetoric.
Tom (Midwest)
I would also add that our local and rural hospitals cheered at the decision. Since the ACA was passed, the unrecoverable costs for hospitals and ER's has declined over 30% as more people had insurance. Granted, this is only for our area but it was significant and very real.
Horace Dewey (NYC)
Scalia’s dissent “scathing?” C'mon. This was the work of a master, bile-fueled satirist refusing to go gently into that good night. Forget strict constructionism. This was legal theory worthy of the legendary Prof. Irwin Corey, who one can imagine saying something like:

“ On the other hand, even if the party of the first part said something but meant something else, what they said and not what the party of the second part meant is what we should say that they said, unless of course they already did say it, but said it without actually saying it…..”

I thought he’d never stop.

Every time he started to wind down, he’d miraculously discover yet more heretofore unknown synonyms with which to chide the majority.

Look, I know that this may have been strict interpretation as the linguistic equivalent of a flesh-eating bacteria, but tell me it wasn’t one heck of a lot of fun.

OK, I do I prefer the majority’s wording. But how much did you giggle when the majority wrote: “... the Act’s context and structure compel the conclusion that Section 36B allows tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act.” That’s jurisprudence informed by Ambien, so coherent that I was asleep by "Section 36B."

No. We need OUR Scalia, someone who could occasionally be fitted for a straight-jacket on behalf of OUR causes. The majority may have been absolutely right today, but sometimes in the era of polarization we need to remember:

Humor thy name is Tony.
will w (CT)
Maybe artful phrasing, but I view scalia, alito and thomas as incorrigible gasbags presenting as infected bunions on the backside of progress.
AH (Oklahoma)
Scalia is a Judge? Of what?
dietevil (Hong Kong)
SCOTUS hearing this case in the first place, in hindsight, makes perfect sense. The lower court applied Chevron deference to the IRS's reading of the ACA, which put the subsidies at risk of being discontinued if a post-Obama administration decided to change its interpretation of the ACA. Finding the statute ambiguous and then explaining its proper meaning removes this issue, and ensures that Americans' access to the subsidiaries is not subject to the politics of the day.
Midwest Jim (Missouri)
The Supreme Court's decision-making has evolved over the past 50 years to be the following: (1) what results do we want, (2) how can we best justify our decision in an excessively long opinion. The pendulum swings both ways. See Bush v. Gore for evidence that most Supreme Court decisions are results-driven.
Michael (Morris Township, NJ)
A fraud based upon lies at bankrupting expense, saved by a Court which simply ignored the unequivocal language of the statute to arrive at a political result.

But the beauty of the ACA is that it's designed to fail. And, at that, it's certain to succeed. But probably not before we blow through a few trillion of borrowed money on handouts.

The problem with being a Cassandra is that you're always right, but no one ever believes you until the catastrophe hits.

And the beauty of being a leftist is never having to admit lying or apologize for the inevitable failure of your policies.
AACNY (NY)
Roberts has seen to it that the SCOTUS won't be blamed for what democrats delivered, which is essentially a Medicaid system with subsidies. (Imagine if Obama had sold THAT during all those sales pitches?)

And, yes, Roberts has a very good read on progressives policies. Always utopian when in the future. Always someone else's fault (usually republicans') when they fail to materialize.

I cannot blame him for not wanting to get involved in the democrats' shell game of a system or the republicans' shell game of a response. It's a shame he had to damage the Court's credibility in the process. Progressives will judge the Court entirely separately from the law anyway.
DR (New England)
For decades now I've been hearing doom and gloom predictions from the right and none of them have come true. At what point do you admit you were wrong?
H (Boston)
You mean like the war in Iraq?
jeff jones (pittsfield,ma.)
I don't like the article headline 'Supreme Court Saves Obamacare,Again.It seems to me that SCOTUS,more than anything,saved itself.Clearly they were aware of the societal ramifications of invalidating law and inability of the opposition to provide a legislative alternative.I think 'credible argument,ended there,with the antagonists unimpressed...
Donald (Orlando)
I am not against socialized medicine. I am, however, against poorly written and ambiguous laws that are ramrodded through by one party, against the will of the majority, unread by those who voted for it (Pelosi, etc) and when the President tells lies to get the law passed.

Democrats should not be surprised by the resistance they provoked considering how they made this law.
Robert Weller (Denver)
It's over for evangelical, anti-human rights Christians. Move Scalia to San Francisco, and let him hitch a ride to Cupertino.
nn (montana)
What is astonishing is that so many people keep trying, over and over, to destroy a law that gives people access to health care. What on earth is the problem with giving people access to health care???? It's like someone not liking ice cream and becoming determined to deny ice cream to everyone else.
Elliot (Chicago)
Most republicans support providing health care for the poor and at no cost the the extreme poor. What many don't like about the bill is that the care for everyone else needed to be changed to accomplish the goal at hand. The law is overly complicated on purpose because it obscures the very high cost of providing the benefit. Gruber said this himself. I actually think most Americans would have supported just writing the check for poor, even a large one, without all the obfuscation.
John (NYC)
Proof positive that a Republican, mostly Catholic Supreme court judiciary makes the right choices most of the time.
NG (TX)
The Supreme Court brought clarification to the ACA again. The law is a good framework but needs more work so that every person receives the care that needs, without falling into financial difficulties. It is time for the Republicans to propose improvements not repeal. The ACA is here to stay and this decision makes this point as well. The states that opted out expanding Medicare and opening exchanges should start to do so. Good day for ACA.
JohnLB (Texas)
My first thought, too. I wrote Governor Abbott this morning, urging expansion of Medicaid. ACA is here to stay. Refusing to participate is self-inflicted damage to the state and its people.
SuzyS (NYC)
Obamacare is a minimalist healthcare coverage policy, a godsend to the insurance industry and a huge financial burden on the government with all the additional medicaid membership. Too bad SCOTUS did not have what it takes to send it back to the drawing board. Instead it allowed America to do everything but the right thing.
NorthXNW (West Coast)
Chief Justice Robert saved Obamacare by governing from the bench and as a result the ACA is now “walking on the Beak's Order” as the Artful Dodger would say. The late Gore Vidal once said: "In a society like ours, politics is improvisation. To the artful dodger rather than the true believer goes the prize." Indeed the Dodger won because of improvisation and slick rhetoric on the Beak's Order.
Jim in Tucson (Tucson)
At what point are people going to treat Antonin Scalia as the embarrassment that he is? He purports to be an intellectual force on the court, but aside from his traditional acerbic quips his decisions tend to be predictable and knee-jerk reactionary, with little regard for established precedent. Just as predictable were Alito and Thomas, who agreed with Scalia, once again forming the Moe, Larry and Curly of the judicial system.

The Court's six deciding members were consistent in their appraisal of the law, and rightly chose to uphold the ACA. The country is better off for it, and Scalia rightly left as a footnote to this momentous affirmation.
tom (WI)
The biggest fix the ACA still needs is adoption of a single payer plan, so that healthcare prices can be negotiated with providers. THE one biggest reason for continuously sky-rocketing healthcare costs is that healthcare today is an industry that exists to benefit the stockholders. When I first started out as a provider, healthcare existed for the benefit of those who needed healthcare. That was in the days just before Medicare; and a hospital double-room cost $35 a day. I'm not kidding. And the money I earned as a provider wasn't great, but it certainly was enough to live on decently. A single-payer plan for ACA can give all Americans better care for less cost.
will w (CT)
I assume, Tom, you are a physician. Why don't you folks get together and have a go at trying to change the system to "single payer", or, are many of your colleagues "gaming" the system as it exists?
Chuck Klaniecki (Philadelphia)
The four words in question are "established by the State". What makes these words ambiguous?
GJ (NC)
Great. Now in America you can pass a law that actually says one thing (subsidies for those in exchanges run by states) but actually means another thing (subsidies for everyone regardless of presence of a state exchange). Gruber, the only one that has spoken the truth about this law, admitted it was to help coerce states to start their own exchanges. Whoops! Let's just change the meaning of what we said! He said something else about the fecklessness of the American public. He didn't lie about that either. Wonder what the next law that will be changed by the courts will be?
henry (italy)
Scalia, Scalito and Roberts.. three justices with parents/grandparents who could have used obamacare...Go figure....ht
Msckkcsm (New York)
This article is a perfect characterization of King vs. Burwell and its political context. It cannot be too strongly put how the Affordable Care Act's opponents are looking to bolster themselves politically by attempting to embarrass and discredit President Obama in any way possible, in this case being recklessly unconcerned about the health and well-being of a great many Americans. They showed interest in the millions who would have lost insurance only when it became a publicity problem for them.
Jack Nargundkar (Germantown, MD)
It’s about time… healthcare should be recognized universally as a human right not as a workingman’s privilege. I had commented several months ago that I believed Justice Roberts would do the right thing and uphold the law, which he did, again! Bravo, you are a true Christian and a real compassionate conservative!
Fahey (Washington State)
"I have no agenda, but I do have a commitment. If I am confirmed, I will confront every case with an open mind. I will fully and fairly analyze the legal arguments that are presented. I will be open to the considered views of my colleagues on the bench. And I will decide every case based on the record, according to the rule of law, without fear or favor, to the best of my ability. And I will remember that it's my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat."

I still have hope for the rulings of the Roberts' Court after all of the decisions by ultra conservative interpretation, that Chief Justice John Roberts may continue to rise to the occasion and meet his pledge that he made in his confirmation hearings.

With ruling by the Supreme Court today on the Affordable Care Act he met the high standard of the law "without fear or favor' even in the scathing opposition of his conservative colleagues.
Further with the careful wording, the ruling may have strengthened ACA so that it cannot be easily overturned with a succeeding President.
With reference to those 'balls and strikes" that Roberts spoke about in his confirmation hearing it's now two strikes rather than the usual three and out for challenging ACA, though to be sure the Republican opposition will keep pitching the curve balls
The lives and the health care of millions of Americans were protected today through the full and fair analysis of six Justices On the Roberts' Court.
Cjmesq0 (Bronx, NY)
Roberts clearly has been compromised. Since 2012. How else to describe his incoherent an illegal decision? He care-wrote the statute to save Obamacare. Not his job to save Ocare.

So 6 million people, allegedly, benefit from Ocare. So how come the remaining 324 million must suffer?
stu freeman (brooklyn NY)
Assuming you're one of those 324 million, please enlighten us as to how you've been suffering. I'm one of those 324 (or so) million and I was moved to cheer when today's decision came in. And not only because I have unhealthy friends among those who are beneficiaries of the ACA.
FG (Bostonia)
Suffer what? Do you still miss the HMOs death panels of pre-existing conditions in your policy? Or is it the ever-increasing premiums and deductibles? Perhaps you suffer knowing that 6 million more Americans won't drop dead in your neighborhood's ER. Enjoy!
AACNY (NY)
Those who don't receive subsidies and whose out-of-pockets are now so high that they must ration care on their own (even though they cannot be denied for pre-existing conditions, etc.) have really one choice: Vote republican.

Democrats deny they exist. They are too busy fighting for Medicaid subsidized Obamacare recipients. The rest who are struggling have been essentially left to their own devices by the Democratic Party.

BTW, anyone choosing to familiarize himself with the republicans' alternative proposals, which doesn't seem to include anyone among the democrats' leftist base, would have learned that republicans were not going to eliminate the subsidies were the SCOTUS to have ruled the other way.
G.P. (Kingston, Ontario)
While congratulations is in order save the cheerleading. America, you are still far far away from a one-payer system. The doctors and drug makers are going to organize a little more tightly.
Sadly they are no brighter than FIFA - they still believe they can keep the charade going on.
Bill Michtom (Portland, Ore.)
They may be no brighter, but they're surely a long way from getting caught.
Silence (Dowell)
What all you wizards fail to realize is the true fact that there is absolutely nothing "affordable" about it. I happen to work in healthcare and with the most indigent - who btw way were the ones who were in theory supposed to benefit ....and as such several points: my patients tell me they are forced to sign up or face a penalty levied by the IRS...and once signed up for the most "basic plan" cannot..A) Pay the monthly premium and B) have deductibles from 3k to 5k to 10k before any coverage is "afforded" SHAME SHAME SHAME>...the most laughable part are the copays that many times are more than the service provided....I am so tired of liberal bias, platitudes, and lies after lies after lies...."oh you can keep your doctor" oh your premiums wont go up...etc etc etc....unconscionable....and btw I am neither conservative nor liberal I am an independent who practices the art of discernability....and do not come back at me with some non-starter comment that "shouldnt everyone have coverage" they are "covered" in name only and will still access care through the most expensive portal..the E.R. and I know this for a fact because I see it every day......and what the Supremes did today was woeful...misguided...ill-informed...and for political expediency...so much for "justice" being blind.....
Jason B (Brooklyn)
Because of the ACA, for the first time in over 10 years I can afford a quality insurance plan, my copays and deductibles are inline with employer-based plans from my conversations with friends and family, and a few weeks ago I received a letter from my insurance company informing me that my premium would be going down next year. Granted, each state is different and I'm sure some low-income individuals are having trouble with high out-of-pocket expenses, but don't believe the detractors here who would have you believe you can't get affordable care through the exchanges. They are simply wrong.
Terry (Kansas)
You are so right. What most also don't see is that if those carrying the burden of higher premiums are spending more if their budget on healthcare that still be forced to spend less somewhere else. What would each of us cut from our expenses when taxes (penalties and higher premiums) tags money we spent she where. Newspapers, cable TV, any extra vanity expense (clothing, nail care, etc) vine go mind for me. This will drive those type businesses out. Then when they are lost who pays more. We do. Insurance companies were the true winners with the ACA.
TheraP (Midwest)
The Right, with so many bone-headed policies, has little left but sophistry to fall back on. And while this issue should never have become a "case," Justice Roberts and the five concurring Justices have at least serpent led on one principle going forward, which may save us, at least as far as court decisions go, from further specious "cases" built upon nothing but sophistry.

Sanity is the result! And thank God for that. If intentionality is now the principle, perhaps going forward the Constitution will also be interpreted in that vein.

One can only hope!
scientella (Palo Alto)
There is something really wrong when these men have so much power.

We have our whole financial system skewed by the decisions of the Fed.

Our whole health care system skewed by decisions of the Supreme Court.

Something is wrong here.

OBAMA bring in a bill for maximum terms for the supreme court.
MH (South Jersey, USA)
The dissenters, Alito, Scalia and Thomas, remind me of the Seinfeld Bubble Boy episode. While playing Trivial Pursuits George reads the question to the Bubble Boy asking who invaded Spain in the eighth century, Bubble Boy answers "the Moors". But George responds that that answer is wrong because the answer on the card says "the Moops". Hilarity ensues.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia02fGpUQfU

But there was nothing funny about the possibility that millions of Americans might have lost their health insurance if there would have been enough Moops on the Court. We should be thankful I suppose that there were only three.
Richard Luettgen (New Jersey)
The ACA was born in a “blatantly political effort” of one party to impose its barely sufficient numbers on transformative legislation despite the unanimous opposition of the other party and aided by parliamentary shenanigans in the Senate. Then it was (barely) sold by conscious lies to Congress and the American people. What brought us to the current decision were merely the efforts of those who disagreed with that congressional action, and were premised by an eminently legitimate position to hold and seek to defend.

Moreover, the strident assertion by this editorial that nobody involved with the ACA had any intentions of limiting the subsidies available to states in the event that they chose not to develop their own exchanges is simply inaccurate: it conveniently ignores comments by ACA architect Jonathan Gruber to the contrary, as well as by others involved in its passage.

In the end, though, we might have expected this outcome. John Roberts won’t have his Court’s legitimacy questioned in the minds of millions of Americans on an ideological hook alone; and he probably worked-over Anthony Kennedy to obtain the sixth vote. This is yet another clear message, as if one were needed after the 2012 decision, that this Court will not seek to correct basic flaws in congressional legislation when the outcomes of such correction are highly controversial. As in 2012, he threw the mess back where it belongs: Congress.
stu freeman (brooklyn NY)
There was unanimous opposition to the ACA on the part of Republicans because that's pretty much the way things happen in Congress these days. If it doesn't benefit the 1%, the "loyal" opposition won't support it. Period. I'm a Democrat who actually believes the GOP was right to give the President the majority vote he needed on "fast track," but considering how the Republicans have on virtually every other occasion acted to thwart Mr. Obama's agenda I'm beginning to wonder what it is that I've been missing on that issue. In any case, why would Justice Roberts have needed to "work over" Justice Kennedy in order to secure one more vote than this decision actually needed? And as for Mr. Gruber's assertions, they're easily contradicted by those of other participants in the writing of the legislation- as well as by Republicans who've claimed that it was always their understanding that the subsidies would be available to all (even despite the fact that they voted to oppose the bill).
DR (New England)
More right wing blather. Neither you or your party have managed to come up with anything better. Why is that?
Richard Luettgen (New Jersey)
Stu:

Nonsense. Even at the height of congressional Republican resistance to Mr. Obama himself, as well as to his policy objectives, there was a great deal of Republican cooperation. Just look at the number of federal judges who were confirmed during the (thankfully brief) period of undivided Democratic government -- almost every one of them, including two U.S. Supreme Court associate justices; and with substantial Republican support.

As to the need to work-over Kennedy, this is apparent to me -- the decision in 2012 to save ObamaCare's individual mandate by calling it a "tax" DIDN'T fly with Kennedy's approval. The ACA re-save did this time.

Finally, you can point to any number of congressfolk on BOTH sides who were clueless enough about the details of the ACA that Pelosi famously had to say "We have to PASS it in order to know what's IN it"; but when one of the Act's architects cynically admits what happened, it's hard to gainsay it.
Miguel (Fort Lauderdale, Fl.)
And as always the news concentrates on the people who gained not the people who had to change their doctor, lost their plan, and have to pay more. We are punishing people who do it the right way. Very Sad.
John (Napa, Ca)
Yes everyone recognizes that the ACA is indeed flawed in many ways. BUT it is a start-please be sure to lobby your elected representatives on how you feel the ACA should be improved so that Americans of all economic strata can have affordable health care without placing too much of a burden on the rest of society-surely you see the big picture of how healthier society benefits all....
Bruce Northwood (Washington, D.C.)
Both sides are winners. Obama's legacy is secure and millions of folks have health care. The republicans also win. They don't have to take the heat for taking away that insurance of those millions and they get to continue beating the dead horse for a bunch of folks who don't even know what the ACA is all about.
bkay (USA)
Finally at least one miserable expression of GOP obstructionism got the boot. Congratulations President Obama, the Supreme Court, and all those whose lives have been saved and improved and will yet be because of this wise SC decision.
Cheeseman Forever (Milwaukee)
"Saves Obamacare" is an overstatement. This case never should have risen to the attention of the Supreme Court in the first case. Chief Justice Roberts's clarify in refuting the literalism and illogic of the plaintiffs was refreshing to read.
Joel Sanders (Montclair, NJ)
Yes, words in statutory law don't really matter, do they?
Sonny Pitchumani (Manhattan, NY)
In one sense, Roberts actually enhanced Republican chance for taking the WH and for keeping the Congress by removing a potent political campaign message that Conservative justices are anti-commoners.

Obamacare was supposed to bend the cost curve and make it affordable for many who buy insurance in the market place. Right now, the affordable plans are those with obscene deductibles. So, in essence, Obamacare is about getting people to have insurance without guaranteeing coverage.

Repealing the medical devices tax is the next move in the Congress, and it may well be that that measure will have Veto-proof majority to become the law. If it does, then the cost of administering O-Care will be prohibitive and it will die a natural death,

Also, many states that run their own exchanges will want to let the Feds handle the headache and bear the cost. A budget buster and deficit enhancer.

The fat lady has not sung yet.
SDW (Cleveland)
Your final sentence is correct, Sonny Pitchumani. This afternoon, the fat lady was able to schedule life-saving gastric bypass surgery for the coming month, a decision she had put off until the decision in King v. Burwell. You will have to find another fat lady, because this one will be lean and healthy under Obamacare.
AACNY (NY)
Democrats have been so busy cheerleading the enrollment in Medicaid that they have ignored the problems of middle class Americans who are rationing care because of their high outlays.

Maybe now democrats will actually get around to dealing with costs.
Sonny Pitchumani (Manhattan, NY)
Chief Justice Roberts wrote, quoting the Supreme Court’s foundational 1803 ruling in Marbury v. Madison. “In every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done.”
-------------------------------------------------
Well, the role of the Congress is to make CLEAR laws, and the court must interpret the law as written. The wiser decision and a riskier political decision would have been for the court to strike the subsidies to those on Fed exchanges and ask that the Congress fix the language in the law to resume subsidies. The court could even have stayed the ruling for 6 months to allow Congress to come up with the fix.

Roberts did himself and the court a huge disfavor.
bob goodwin (mercer island Wa)
Although I had hoped for a different outcome, the reality is that we are seeing the magic of our system. We now know that ObamaCare is the law of the land, despite being one of the sloppiest pieces of major legislation ever created in the US. We know this because of an extended debate, and ultimately that the supreme court ruled narrowly on several contentious issues. I like democracy, and can live with its results, however the sausage is made.
Terry (Kansas)
Indeed and I have never liked sausage.
Vivek (Germantown, MD, USA)
When Republicans have been determined to refuse cooperation and deny any success to Obama for racist reasons this is what we get. They still have an opportunity to modify and improve the law on bipartisan basis, now that the term of Obama Presidency will be over soon.
MBR (Boston)
It's critic may call it Obamacare out of derision, but history
may think differently.

So let's give credit where credit is due. Obama had little to
do with it and his lack of leadership led to the Congressional
infighting that resulting in an unwieldy piece of legislation.

The real credit for getting the Affordable Health Care Act
passed is due to Nancy Pelosi who persevered and got the
Senate bill through the house after Scott Brown replaced Ted
Kennedy. A great achievement by a great Speaker of the House.

And to Chief Justice John Roberts who led the Supreme Court
to uphold the law against strong opposition.
Joe (California)
When words are infinitely malleable, then laws no longer have meaning. Only power counts now. Laws are whatever the powerful say they are and apply to whomever the powerful say they apply. Russia and China have many "laws". Our laws have become as meaningful as their laws.
Fred Reade (NYC)
The obvious take-away from this is the GOP shills who brought the case and the 3 dissenting justices are egregious examples of what the GOP pretends to decry: activist judges. They can't get their agenda via the electoral process so they seek to undermine the will of the legislative and executive branch with judicial activism. Again. And again, they fail. Roberts may be a corporate shill, but he does have some self-respect. Alito, Scalia and Thomas are a joke.
ROBERT (Montclair, NJ)
Today I wrote a check to "Department of State" and mailed it to an address of a United States government office in Pennsylvania. It was for the purpose of renewal of my U.S. passport. Do three Supreme Court Justices contend that the State of New Jersey in which I currently live should cash it? I believe the ACA was enacted by the United States congress, not the New Jersey legislature.

This case should never have been accepted by any court. It was not frivolous, but rather perverse!
Mike (Dacula, Ga)
And now we can watch the Trojan Horse Affordable HealthCare Act sink of its own weight due to the incompetence and deceit employed in designing, drafting and passing it. But this matters not to the authors and supporters as they know the next logical step will be a single payer system to put the Government in full control of Healthcare.

The same Government that can't manage the Veterans Hospital System or protect our most secret information from our enemies. That can't operate the IRS with integrity, that can't process guest workers visas and with every passing day displays its utter incompetence in performing basic functions. Faith in Government is at an all time low, but this matters not to the ideologues who achieve their goals by deception and false promises. They won't be around when when things turn Greece like.
glen (WA)
The Federal Govt. has screwed up everything it has touched & this will be NO EXCEPTION! Lets see what you say about it in 5 years when all your taxes & insurance premiums sky rocket to cover those who enter this country illegally or who refuse to work like normal U.S. Citizens'!
Red Lion (Europe)
Because insurance premiums NEVER went up before the ACA?

Please.

Yes, premiums continue to rise -- at a far slower rate than they did before the ACA came into effect. It is an inelegant law, with many issues, but, after ninety-seven years of attempts by Presidents from both parties, it was and is a substantial step forward towards a better more fair system. The staggeringly immoral for-profit insurance industry needs to be brought to its knees and this law, which merely bribes them to behave better, won't do it.

But it is a step forward. Millions have access to care who did not before. The tens of thousands who were condemned to die every single year because of no access to health care (in the wealthiest society in human history) have a better chance now.

And, not that facts seem to interest you, but undocumented immigrants are not eligible under the law. Stop watching Fox -- it isn't actually news.
HANK (Newark, DE)
The fact 3 Supreme Court Justices feel death is an acceptable consequence caused by abolishing the ACA is deplorable. Though it is next to impossible to pinpoint an exact number, some estimates in recent years put that number at 3 to 6 Americans per hour.
javierg (Miami, Florida)
The great news here is that the majority rose above politics and focused on the law, just as the Court is mandated by our Constitution. Admirable.
Jon B (Long Island)
To me, it's sickening to consider that Conservatives would deny millions of people health care in order to deny Obama a legacy, but that's how small minded some people are.
PSST (Philadelphia)
Scalia, Thomas(the silent), and Alito are a disgrace. They are living on some other planet most of the time. How did such mean-spirited, narrow-minded, men get confirmed to the court? Please vote Democratic in the next election so our new president does not nominate more like them.
Terry (Kansas)
All I can say is you must receive subsidies. No one actually paying full premiums could possibly agree with you.
TheraP (Midwest)
It sounds like Scalia's dissent is akin to the reasoning of a certain serpent in a certain garden.

Here's the result, from Genesis:

"Then the Lord God said to the snake: "Because you have done this, cursed are you..."

Oh, dear...
SuzyS (NYC)
Now that SCOTUS said that access to healthcare coverage should not depend upon the geographical area one resides at, how about the access to vote? Living in NYC in exchange for the right to vote in the primaries, I pay for, I am required to registered my political affiliation with the party that controls, or last won, my geographical electoral district! Is that Democracy or even democracy?
JimBob (California)
Scalia's opinion that finding for the plaintiff would cause states to get with the program and set up their own exchanges is completely spurious. Sure, if we had a Congress that would work with the states to make sure this happened, and that no one was left uninsured during the transition between federally-run exchanges and state-run exchanges -- a bureaucratic nightmare, but it could happen -- maybe he'd have a point. But Scalia knows, as we all know, that we do NOT have a Congress that is prepared to put people's welfare ahead of ideology. And that many state governors are exactly the same. Scalia is a deeply dishonest man, as is Thomas.
L Bartels (Tampa, Florida)
Quite clearly, the intent of the law was upheld by the SCOTUS. This should have been a unanimous decision. Those who dissented are worthy of our respect but I have to wonder if they had a political agenda.
SDW (Cleveland)
You, L Bartels, are worthy of our respect. The three justices who dissented, however, have a track record of judicial activism -- to the point of judicial legislating -- in furtherance of a radical, right-wing agenda.
SDW (Cleveland)
This is an excellent editorial. It explains today's decision concisely and correctly.

At the risk of being picky, there seems to be a disconnect between the editorial and its headline, "The Supreme Court Saves Obamacare, Again." The headline implies that there is something fundamentally flawed in Obamacare and that the Supreme Court graciously corrected the flaw. No, six members of the Supreme Court did their jobs and should be applauded for that service.
John Calderhead (Denver, CO)
With Roberts in a generous mood, maybe they could address the true intent of that extra comma in the Second Amendment.
Mike Banta (Sun Lakes, AZ)
People interested only in the destruction of the ACA, delighting only in the possible detriment of the President, dug very deeply to identify four little words to undo something that benefits the US as a whole. They spent much time and effort to attempt this, and they lost. Imagine what could have been done to take those energies to enhance the ACA. But it seems our Republican friends have no interest in improvements in any area. Witness the infrastructure.....
Belle (Seattle)
Scalia, Alito and Thomas are the three injustices who are always negative. You can bet they will vote against Marriage Equality. They have shamed the Supreme Court.
Jack (Long Island)
Perhaps the Times will now stop accusing the court of politicizing issues. I am an unhappy with the ruling but understand the court interrupted the law on the basics of its constitutionality. My issue is with politicians and what has become advocacy journalism. If the court rules in accordance with political leanings it is accurate and fair, if not it is political.

This "conservative court" has exposed the phony issue of judicial bias constructed by the left leaning media.
Gene Bloxsom (<br/>)
The Republicans biggest fear is that Obamacare will have the appearance that the Government is actually capable of getting something accomplished. Grover Norquist and his ilk must be going absolutely crazy today.
FXQ (Cincinnati)
I was surprised the Supreme Court even took up this case. I'm no legal scholar, but even I know that the issue like the one challenged in the ACA goes totally against Supreme Court precedent. The INTENT of the law/act is always considered when hairsplitting legal questions come into play for regulatory laws that are often thousands of pages long, and very complex. The Supreme Court has actually said this in the past. So why they even took this challenge is baffling . But, it's another nail in the coffin for the anti-ACA crowd. Hopefully, some sane Republicans will step forward with good ideas on how to make this law work better. Maybe the people from the Cato Institute, which initiated the basis for the ACA, can offer some helpful ideas.
Mike Kueber (San Antonio)
You say, "Not a single person involved in passing or interpreting the law — including members of Congress, health-care journalists, and Supreme Court justices themselves — ever expressed a belief that subsidies would not be available on federally-operated exchanges." That might be a valid argument if you can show me a single person who expressed a belief that subsidies would be available on federal exchanges. This issue was probably not closely considered - "We'll learn what's in the bill after we pass it." :)
dpottman (san jose ca)
with apologies to mr Churchill. never in the course of human history have so few tried so hard to deprive so many. good for the court
Frank Ciccone (Wallingford, CT)
The shocking fact that one-third of the justices agreed with the legal argument behind a politically instigated and legally frivolous case makes it apparent that the current methodology for picking Supreme Court justices needs to be revamped. There were many parts of the law that made it obvious what the law was intended to accomplish. That 3 of them could willfully ignore this fact as, well as get angry about the majority's correct decision, defies common sense and competent jurisprudence.
Lucius (Los Angeles)
I'll call it Scotuscare when Scalia agrees to refer to George W. Bush as Scotus' Potus.
Vincent Arguimbau (Darien, CT)
As a Libertarian and a Cato subscriber I received the full shrill barrage of briefs calling Obamacare illegal, but the small mindedness of the challenge was telling. It reminded me of Gordon Gecko, the character played by Michael Douglas in the movie "Wall Street" commanding his minions to wreck it. Why? Because its wreckable!
Healthcare in America has many inefficiencies and irrational policies paying for services rather than result. Now that Obamacare has solid footing its time to make it better, that is more libertarian.
HealedByGod (San Diego)
I have a few questions for the board
1) Obama said 28 times we could keep our doctor and our plan. That was a lie as was Obama minimizing Gruber's role in the plan
2) What legal right did Obama have to delay the employer mandate? Where in the bill is this power given?
3) How could Obama and liberals constantly say that the policies were cancelled because they were substandard yet reverses course and force insurance companies to reissue polices for 2 years? What legal basis is there for this?
4) What legal right did if have to issue waivers and also create a hardship exemption? Doesn't this violate the Separation of Powers clause which states Congress shall make all laws? With these changes does the bill remain as it was written?
5) Why is it the back end of the website still not finished?
6) Why are ER visits up and not down as Obama claimed?
7) Why does Obama give out waivers to his union cronies yet fine those who refuse to sign up?
8) Government subsidies are taxpayer money. I was turned down for ObamaCare yet my tax money is paying the subsidies for those who in many cases don't want to work. Only under Obama
9) We now have a shortage of surgeons due to this law
10) Doctors are refusing to accept Medicare patients because the low reimbursements
I think people should be insured but not when it's forced. the 20-35 demographic are being forced to pay higher deductibles and premiums to compensate the elderly who have a high demand. Do they get a subsidy?
Gene Lynd (Columbus, OH)
The president's biggest mistake was his initial failure to sell the Affordable Care Act, which led to a GOP takeover of the House and gave rise to the Tea Party. A 2009 Harvard study found nearly 45,000 annual premature deaths associated with lack of health insurance. The president has never discussed this, although folks who are pro-life should be especially alarmed by such a number. But finally the last hurdle has been cleared.
Tim (Durango, Colorado)
Giving credit where it is possible that credit is due, i want to believe five or more members of the Roberts Court agreed to take this specious challenge to the ACA expressly to issue a decision that would discourage more such frivolous efforts in the future. Only time and partisanship will tell.
Michael D'Angelo (Bradenton, FL)
Ah yes, that familiar "stay above the politics of the issue and do their job — which is to interpret the law, not to rewrite it" notion --- is effective particularly when the decision is favorable to the partisan's particular cause.

But, history is replete, unfortunately, with examples that it doesn't always turn out that way.

http://lifeamongtheordinary.blogspot.com/2012/04/obamacare-and-supreme-c...
finder72 (Boston)
The case was designed by conservative Republicans to trash healthcare for those that need it most. It's a loss for them. A loss for conservative and independent voters that support the conservative agenda. A loss. A LOSS!

I agree with the commenters that health insurance corporations and healthcare providers, specifically for-profit organizations, do nothing to make the system work better.

Healthcare should not be about making profits, uncontrolled cost and growth.

Somewhere in the future it will be focused on efficiency, value and patients, not healthcare executives, doctors and, of course, pharmaceutical corporations.
hm1342 (NC)
The case was indeed frivolous, but that doesn't mean the ACA is constitutional.
Tom Silver (NJ)
An "ambiguous" four word phrase? Hardly.

The quite plausible purpose of those four words was to give states a powerful incentive to set up their own exchanges. It's worrisome when the Court takes it upon itself to "fix" what Congress has plainly wrought. There was no contradictory language here. A better solution, more in keeping with Separation of Powers, would have been for the Court to grant a stay of the law as it is currently interpreted by the IRS - and give Congress maybe a year to "fix" it if it so chose. The risk of Congress failing to do that is not the proper concern of the Court, which otherwise would be in the law-making business. This is a terrible precedent, one which may come back to bite liberals should a future Court interpret away the plain language of a law in a way that liberals oppose. Since a stay would have compelled Congress to come up with some solution of its own - Republicans in an election year would not have simply removed subsidies from millions who already have them - the Constitution would have been far better served. So this ruling turned out to be not so much about Obamacare as about a threat to fundamental liberties protected by our Constitution.
Josh (Grand Rapids, MI)
Bingo. I'm concerned by those who don't see it this way.
HealedByGod (San Diego)
I have one further question. How does the board push for a hike in the minimum wage yet support a 30% cut in reimbursements to doctors. That to me is insulting to doctors. I have witnessed brain surgeries, thoracic and vascular, hip replacements, bowel resections. Are you people now saying that their skill set is now worth 30% less? That's is ludicrous. These people go from 12-15 years of college and med school and add untold debt but suddenly Obama and Democrats believe that someone working at McDonald's is worth $15 to flip a burger? What training is required? How to hold a spatula?
For (brain) surgery it takeember under the knife to a doctor who is operating at 70% effectiveness?s 3-4 hours just to set up the instruments. I have seen numerous brain tumors and lung and colon cancer tumors. Do hyou people want a family m
Debbie (Ohio)
No better words were spoken on this decision.
How I wish Scalia, Alito, and Thomas would retire! They are an embarrassment to SCOTUS since they were appointed.
A. Stanton (Dallas, TX)
Guaranteed incomes, low-income housing, free and heavily subsidized health care, college educations and day care, free public transportation, jobs and more jobs through massive public works programs. A perfect prescription for Democratic control of the country for the next 25 years. All one needs to do is go the polls every four years and check all the Democratic boxes. A noble dream, except for the fact that the American people are not buying it.
Donald Seberger (Libertyville, Illinois)
This is the latest in a growing line of decisions that demonstrate that Justice Scalia should retire from the Court and run for public office. He seems much better suited for that role and rough and tumble world. What once may have passed as wit has become pure vitriol, sarcasm, disdain, and derision. Those traits belittle not only his colleagues but the very sanctity of the Court and cast him as the petty tyrant that he has become.
Orrin Schwab (Las Vegas)
Scalia and Alitto are considered brilliant legal scholars, no? Why the
impassioned dissent if the argument was a farce? I agree wholeheartedly
with the decision but I can't fathom how conservative jurists of such high quality would take the argument other than what it was- a grotesque technical reading of the law? Is it all about politics and ideology? It is quite disappointing to think that at the highest levels of American jurisprudence rationality has to take a backseat to overt political bias.
Tim L. (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Now that the ACA seems secure, and broad, publicly supported healthcare has become a fixture in the U.S.A., it is time to start the move to a single payer system, with costs borne out of general revenue. It works everywhere else that it is in place, and it costs less, and it provides better health outcomes. Oh, and the other thing it does is eliminate some of the ridiculous and inefficient profiteering by corporate participants.
Adam W. (Los Angeles, CA)
The lawsuit wasn't a "farce" or an "intentional misreading of four words."

The Petitioners are right on - and Scalia piquantly argues in his Dissent, that the Affordable Care Act differentiates exchanges by who sets them up - the states or the federal government. The language at issue clearly allows subsidies only for exchanges set up by the states. This is not even remotely unclear.

As Scalia says:

And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.

Roberts takes the pragmatic approach to save the Affordable Care Act, again, by forgetting about the words used and upholding the purpose of the law, as everyone has understood it since it passed. There is no doubt that the drafter of this provision either (1) made a straight forward mistake, or (2) intended the provision to act as the Petitioners' argue- as an incentive for states to set up their own exchanges.

What no one states - not the Supreme Court opinion, nor the NYT Editorial Board - is the key issue. Legislators don't read 900 page laws.
Katmandu (Princeton)
I disagree whole-heartedly that the petitioners in this case had advanced a "preposterous claim." Read the opinion. The Supreme Court was not established under Article III to re-write mistakes and errors in legislative enactments; its function is to interpret the law as written. The majority in this case, in order to achieve a social and political end result, did in fact re-write the law. The more prudent course would have been to interpret the law, as specifically and expressly written, and let Congress fix its errors.

The problem, as noted in both the majority and dissent opinions, is that Congress passed this law via back room deals, without debate and without any Congressional member taking the time to actually read the 900 page bill in its entirety. Of course it would be fraught with mistakes; but, without clear legislative intent and history on the issue before the Court in this case, it was incumbent upon the Court to interpret the statutory definition of "states" in the ACA - "states" means "states" and not "states and the federal government. The majority re-wrote the definition and, as the dissent points out, there were valid reasons why the definition would have excluded the federal exchanges from receiving the subsidies, e.g., to encourage the states to maintain their own exchanges and not piggy back on the federal government. The federal exchanges were designed as a fall back measure.

Justice Scalia's wit and sarcasm ring true - save the ACA at all costs.
AACNY (NY)
Roberts saved Obamacare first by inventing a "tax" and then by inventing an "ambiguity." The irony is nothing has damaged the Court's integrity and reputation as much as the decisions that elate its harshest critics.

Obamacare has twisted not ony the country but even the Supreme Court into knots. The gift from Obama that just keeps on giving. His real legacy in so many ways.
Howard Stambor (Seattle, WA)
Your comment is satire, right? I thought it was clear that this court irreparably damaged its integrity with Bush v Gore, Hobby Lobby, and Citizens United. You have mis-targeted the correct aspersion that you have cast– unless of course this was intended to be funny. Which, by the way, it was not.
AACNY (NY)
Howard Stambor:

Unfavorable outcomes don't damage the integrity of the Court. They just anger people who then cast apsersions.

Engaging in a process that has no integrity is much more damaging. No one, regardless of ideology, can trust a Court that will change the meanings of words with the express purpose of achieving a particular outcome. The process, itself, can never be trusted after that regardless of who celebrates the outcome.
Pam (Alaska)
The SCOTUS was correct in interpreting the ACA in line with Congress' clear intent. However, we on the left should have the intellectual integrity to admit the obvious truth: The opposing argument wasn't specious, nor are the relevant four words "ambiguous." An exchange "established by the state" is not an exchange established by the federal government, especially in a law that distinguishes exchanges established by states from those established by the federal government. The four words in question are a drafting error of the sort that results when laws are drafted by lobbyists or political hacks. (Or maybe, to be charitable, by people who haven't had enough sleep.) I think the Court was correct in deciding that clear intent overrides a drafting error, but we should be honest enough to give the Devil his due.
bmw (hartford, ct)
I bet the first draft of Scalia's dissent used the phrase "RobertsCare."
dugggggg (nyc)
as everyone knows, the federal government doesn't have the power to order the states to make their respective drinking ages 21: However it can and condition federal highway funding on it. Perhaps the government should do the same with federal health care.
Bhibsen (Albany, NY)
They tried tying Medicaid funds to Medicaid expansion and that was not upheld in the last SCOTUS ACA ruling.
Iced Teaparty (NY)
Justice Rush Scalia called the court’s decision “quite absurd,” and quipped, “We should start calling this law Scotus-care.”

Who appointed Rush Limbaugh to the Supreme Court?????

Ronald Reagan, hero of the Republicans.

Shows one and only one thing: we've been stupidized, almost completely, by the Republican Party. Who else would appoint someone with the judicial temper of a Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck to the Supreme Court? Only a Republican.
Steve Allen (S of NYC)
"Stupidized"? I believe that is how the Obamacare architect Gruber spoke of his fellow Liberals.
Iced Teaparty (NY)
Steve:

When trying to make sound policy in the face of an adversary like the Tea Party you will have to resort to some deception, unfortunately, because they are so prickly and seek any pretext to undermine sound policy, as in the recent case of King v. Burwell.

But the real mammoth deceptions--the denials that humans are creating global warming, the claim that wholly unregulated capitalist markets do not create hazards that need to be regulated; the claim that Citizens United and similar court decisions do not undermine democracy--these are the big time lies that reduce Americans to stupidity.
Li'l Lil (Houston)
A collective sigh of relief was heard across America from people who believe in the American Way. Thankfully no hobby lobby political kowtowing, no citizen united bow to the Koch brothers. Scalia has been obsessed with words out of context and his beliefs out of context. It's time for him to step down. He's done everything his wife wanted and his twisted view of reality has no place in the Supreme Court.
Iced Teaparty (NY)
Well said L'll.
Doug (Illinois)
Time for the GOP to take their medicine. Good thing it's covered by insurance.
Pragmatist (Austin, TX)
While I agree with the notion that legally the Court could have dispensed with this frivolous lawsuit by refusing to hear it, the more forceful 6-3 Court opinion may actually do more good. Much like previous opinions on same-sex marriage, the Court is validating (and I hope will continue to do so) clear legal thinking so the "aginners" (those against all change and government) have to come out of the shadows.

People may disagree with the ACA proposition, but the American people are sick and tired of a small, well-financed, minority monopolizing our legislative agenda. Get on with things that need to be done including making the reasonable modifications to ACA that need to be made. I hope this decision will cause some governors sitting on the fence to extend coverage and force the stragglers into the light of day. Let the people decide whether this minority group should remain in power.

The highly partisan, unreasonable, and inconsistent dissents of three justices should give people pause about their competence and judges. It is healthy for the judiciary to have disagreements of principal, but this group changes its principal approach to law whenever it suits their political ends. That has no place on the Court.
EMF (Boone, NC)
well said! Thank you for stating my thoughts more clearly.
Sledge (Worcester)
Everyone seems willing to pass judgment on the Supreme Court, both yea and nay, but the real culprits are the lawyers who drafted the legislation and carelessly phrased a critical part of the law. I support ACA and applaud the Supreme Court for ruling on what should have been written in the law, not what was written.
jeoffrey (Arlington, MA)
All complex programs, legal or computer, have bugs. Part of SCOTUS's job is to figure out what are just bugs and to accept reasonable debugging tweaks by regulatory agencies.
Jason Shapiro (Santa Fe)
That may be true, but as the article indicated, no one in Congress (with all those staff attorneys), no one from the health care and insurance industries, and no one on SCOTUS during their prior ACA case said anything about those four words. if they were the result of poor drafting, they did not seem to cause a problem with anyone who read the law.
Katmandu (Princeton)
FINALLY - a well reasoned comment! The problem, as both the majority and dissent adequately noted, was the method and manner in which this law came to pass and the ambiguities, errors and omissions in the bill. The Court did what was required - it took up the case to yet again address another error in the drafting. I disagree with the majority opinion - I believe it went too far and exceeded its Article III and Marbury v Madison duties of only interpreting the law (what does the term "states" mean), and that Scalia's dissent is on solid legal precedent. Interpret the term and Congress defined it, don't re-write the law (that is the role of Congress, not the Courts), and let Congress fix the mess it created.

I support the ACA, too, but disagree that SCOTUS must consistently usurp Congressional authority to fix it. As such, I support the dissent's opinion, which most commenters here either didn't read or simply don't understand the role of the Courts.

Thank you for your comment.
rcbakewell (San Francisco)
The cCurt should not have taken the case in the first place...but it has given fair minded people a chance to explain what ACA does and how America will benefit...the naysayers , some of whom are prisoners of the ' anything Obama is for I'm against ' mentality will continue the obstructionism....politics matters and so does the Supreme Court.
Mary (Pennsylvania)
So, finally, all must accept that the ACA is constitutional.
I suspect that President Obama will have no problem with calling it SCOTUS-care if that is what the Justices want.

Now to make the Affordable Care Act affordable.
And to extend it to cover everyone.
And to include birth control.
Robert (Out West)
It does.
Gordon Cash (Annapolis, MD)
According to my dictionary, "state" means "a politically unified population occupying a specific area of land; nation". Also, but certainly not exclusively, it may mean "any of the territories, each with its own government, that are combined under a federal government". Unless there is something specific in the ACA that points to the second meaning, I would ask how the enemies of ACA know that was the intent of Congress.

Some of you may recall that using the dictionary definition of "person" was the lynchpin of SCOTUS' insisting that corporations are people.
Steve Allen (S of NYC)
The intent was fully explained. It was written to force states to set up exchanges. Period.
blackmamba (IL)
Obamacare is a misnomer. This started out as conservative free market Republican Heritage Foundation Care. Then it became Romneycare in the state of Massachusetts under Governor Willard Romney. When POTUS Obama adopted the law after Senator Obama opposed it in favor of a robust public option it became colored welfare socialist care in the politically partisan hearts and minds of the Republicans. Neither Obama nor members of Congress nor SCOTUS have to worry about obtaining and paying for healthcare. Now it is simply Americacare.

Republicans should be honorably principled enough not to sign up for the coverage. Just say no! And pay the tax penalty. Or they can vote to repeal the law ad infinitum.
Tony (New York)
Wonder why the Democrats adopted a Republican plan? I guess there were no decent Democratic, progressive or liberal alternatives that appealed to President Barack H. Obama or the Democratic majority in Congress. POTUS and Democrats fought to pass a Republican plan with no Republican support, instead of a Democratic, progressive or liberal plan like Medicare for all or single payer. Why?
Wayne A. Spitzer (Faywood, NM)
"Wonder why the Democrats adopted a Republican plan?".....Because the country desperately needed some form of universal healthcare and a Republican plan seemed most likely to gain broad based acceptance in Congress. Unfortunately Congress was, and still is, more interested in trying to destroy an Obama presidency.
AACNY (NY)
It never went anywhere because it never had any real support. Turns out, only democrats really supported it.
Socrates (Verona, N.J.)
The Supreme Court also saved the Republican Party from massive losses at the voting booths.

Had the subsidies been eliminated, millions of Americans stripped of health insurance by Republican ill will and spite would have taken out their anger on the intellectually and morally bankrupt GOP at the polls.

Hopefully, America will still take out their anger on the GOP in the next election for trying their hardest to expand GOP Death Panels.

D to go forward; R to drop dead.
RJPost (Baltimore)
Ridiculous. None of the people receiving subsidies (the only ones who like Obamacare) are ever going to vote for Republicans. This issue has no political impact other than to rile up each parties respective base
Robert (Out West)
i don't get a subsidy, and I adore the thing as a gigantic advance. But then, I actually know what it is.
Rick Gage (mt dora)
RJPost, Most of the recipients of the benefits of Obamacare are poor white Republicans. Why they don't know who's on their side is answered in your post.
ck (chicago)
I still don't understand how the federal government can insist that citizens buy anything from a private company such as an insurance company. Am I glad people have insurance? Yes. Am I glad the government is paying the lion's share of many of those policies? Yes. I would like to see the entire medical industrial complex socialized personally and for a hundred reasons not the least is to take back human life from the clutches of big pharma. That said, I honestly still do not understand how the federal government can legally mandate that an individual buy *anything* and, worse, from any private, for profit industry. (And yes I've heard the lame argument about car insurance but as of yet the government has not mandated that we all buy a car). Socialized medicine is the only way to go and now, due to the "bandaid" and distraction of Obamacare that's going to happen when things freeze over which is likely never with global warming.
DR (New England)
You are required to buy car insurance.
pj (Albany, NY)
If there was some way for people to promise they wouldn't accept medical treatment if they
couldn't pay for it, you would have a point, but you don't.
Tony (New York)
Only if you own a care. You don't have to buy car insurance just by virtue of breathing and having a heart beat.
M. Natalia Clemente Vieira (South Dartmouth, MA)
I would like to thank SCOTUS for this decision because Obamacare has helped me and my nephew. Until he got a job with insurance, my nephew was able to stay on his parents’ plan until he was 25. I have been able to have healthcare while unemployed and for the past year while employed part time with no benefits. I will have an increase in hours in September and will then qualify for insurance with my employer’s group. I am very grateful for assistance in a time of need.

I do hope that after all the ridiculous amount of votes in Congress and this decision by SCOTUS, the Republicans move on to other issues and put the taxpayers’ money to better use. How much private and public money has been wasted with these shenanigans?

Mr. Boehner, et al.: Please start working in the interest of ALL Americans not for that of your rich contributors.
T (NYC)
"SCOTUS-care"?? Oh no no no no no no, Justice Sclia.

SCOTUS Justices receive gold-plated, diamond-studded, titanium-reinforced health care, the best that taxpayer money can provide. THAT is "SCOTUS-care". Because you deserve it, right?

Yet for some reason you seem to be hellbent on denying ordinary Americans even the twigs, bark, and duct-tape variety of healthcare known as ACA.

"I've got mine..." funny how that works.
Tired of Hypocrisy (USA)
"SCOTUS Justices receive gold-plated, diamond-studded, titanium-reinforced health care, the best that taxpayer money can provide."

I believe that is the same for all of our hard working Senators and Congress people. Funny how that works, they pass the laws then exempt themselves from them.
MinnRick (Minneapolis, MN)
Nice try, but no. SCOTUS-care is now the law of the land because 6 of 9 justices yesterday, and 5 of 9 back in 2012, seem to agree that this bloated legislative disgrace, passed in the most shameful manner in which a piece of truly transformative legislation has EVER been passed, is constitutional. So be it.

But enough of the garbage (promoted as a NYT Editorial 'Pick', no less) that this decision has anything to do with the health plan enjoyed by the justices. Good grief. Such an argument is a straw man, yet another mindless attempt by the class-baiting, government-as-savior-for-all crowd to redirect the focus away from where it belongs: How much economic and moral decay we as a nation are going to tolerate under the lawmaking, leadership and now legal theorizing delivered by the 'progressive' mindset.

Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton are rolling over in their graves.
Jim (North Carolina)
"The case challenging the law, King v. Burwell, was always an ideological farce dressed in a specious legal argument, and the court should never have taken review of it to begin with. ******Its core claim — that an ambiguous four-word phrase buried deep in the 900-page law eliminates health insurance for millions of lower-income Americans — was preposterous.''

You are absolutely correct about this. Straightforward application of basic rules brought the Court majority to its correct decision today.
Annie (Pittsburgh)
Rand Paul tweeted "As President I would make it my mission to repeal #Obamacare, and propose real solutions for our healthcare system."

Obama was first elected in 2008 and took office in 2009. Efforts to pass a health care reform bill began shortly thereafter. Just how many years have gone by withOUT a proposal for "real solutions for our healthcare system" from any Republican? (And, no, bills to allow sales of health insurance across state lines do not count as any sort of "real" solution.) Just what is it that the Republicans are waiting for? Where were their proposals during the year that the ACA was being considered? Where were their proposals when they were voting again and again and again and--well, you get it--to overturn the ACA? Where were their proposals during the campaigns for the 2012 election? Is Mr. Paul going to give us a clue as to what his "real solutions" are? They have had years to come up with "real solutions" and they still haven't put forth even one credible suggestion (and, no, allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines STILL doesn't count). So now we're supposed to believe that putting one of them into the office of the presidency will magically result in producing "real solutions"? This is so ludicrous that it's hard to believe that any half-way intelligent American would fall for it. Unfortunately, we appear to have quite a few citizens who fall short of that low bar. Let's pray there aren't too many of them.
Li'l Lil (Houston)
Rand Paul and all the other GOP anti-obamacare folk have not, nor will they ever, have a better program than this. More bogus from the bologna makers.
richie (nj)
Perhaps Rand Paul would propose Medicare for All. :)
Paul deLespinasse (Corvallis, Oregon)
"....the court should never have taken review of it to begin with."

Well, I believe there was a "conflict of the Circuits," meaning that different Courts of Appeals had ruled differently. Did we really want the legality of the subsidies to depend on what part of the country people live in? That would have been the result if the Supreme Court had not taken this case.
emm305 (SC)
"And it worked on the three justices whose disdain for the law has always been clear: Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito Jr. and Clarence Thomas. "

I don't think their 'disdain for the law' applies to the ACA alone.

They have a history of accepting cases for do-over, cases where precedent has been long established, but as Scalia gets closer and closer to his 80s and is obese, they feel they need to get their ideological work done and overturn them no matter how much it destroys the public integrity of the court.

It's amazing how easily supreme court justices can be bought off with paid speechifying.
Michaelira (New Jersey)
Too bad the ACA can't cure mass ignorance, such as afflicts millions of Americans who hate "Obamacare" but love the Affordable Care Act.
Tony (New York)
Or the millions of Americans who say they support Democratic and progressive policies, and then refuse to sign up for coverage under the ACA.
Robert (Out West)
i'd ask how you know that. Then, I wouldoint out that in states like Texas and Florida and Wisconsin, millins would LOVE to sogn up for Obamacare and are not allowed to by their zgovernors.
Reva (New York City)
Tony: Your proof of the "millions?
R M Gopa1 (Hartford, CT)
Obamacare is a success only in he sense that half a loaf to many among the needy is better than no loaf to any of he needy, because the system permits its benefits only after the stockholders of insurance companies have had their cut. This is an outrage and a baffling wastage of public funds. Wy can't public benefits be administered and regulated by public agencies?
BloodyColonial (Santa Cruz)
Applesauce, man! That's jiggery pokery!

Antonin Scalia needs to retire from the bench. He's an arrogant jerk and a clown and he doesn't have the temperament for the office. Disagree with the majority opinion if you will, but carry yourself with the dignity Americans expect from a Supreme Court justice.

Can't FOX lure him away with a high profile sinecure? By nature he is an angry right-wing talk show host, not a Justice.
drichardson (<br/>)
Bringing this case before the court at all is the moral equivalent of trying to shut down the federal government in 2013. Futile, nasty, retrograde attempts to cut off everyone's noses out of spite, resisting the inevitable and necessary progress of history. The best thing about this decision is that it makes the ACA far more solidly entrenched legally. Next: negotiation for prices, especially drug prices, and a one-payer system.
tombo (N.Y. State)
A preposterous lawsuit indeed and yet it had the support of Alito, Scalia and Thomas, the three stooges who once again proved that they are political hacks first and jurists last.
sj (eugene)

cheers for this SCOTUS decision.

a brief moment made possible by the majority's clear evaluation and summary.

Justice's "do" matter,
President's nominate successor justice's.

always make this constitutional fact a part of voting decisions.
and then VOTE.
J.T. (New York, NY)
I'd like to know to which part(s) of the ACA Republicans object: that I can afford healthcare if I lose my job again, that I can be insured at all with a preexisting condition, or that I can't be charged different premiums because I'm female?
Gwbear (Florida)
Finally! One small decent thing for the People!

Thank you, Mr. President! As for those who did everything humanly (and inhumanly) possible to kill this over 6+ years, to the exclusion of almost any other pressing national business, we will remember. History will too - and it will not be kind.
Jon G. (NYC)
While I couldn't understand why the Supreme Court agreed to hear this absurd case in the first place, I'm glad they did as they finally put the question of the "legality" of the ACA to rest. Perhaps now Republicans can focus on ways to improve the ACA and on other challenges facing the country.
Lynne (Usa)
Let us not forget that Chief Roberts has. Preexisting condition was that was actually brought up very publicly in his nominating process. Had he not gotten on the government health care, he most likely would be denied or have to pay through the roof for insurance. And that goes for quite a few Senators, Congressmen with golden plans and possibly their children.
Alto and Scalia inject their Catholism constantly. I don't know what teachings they are clinging onto but I have never met a nun or priest that would ever think to not provide medical care to anyone. That includes young, old. Pope Francis was washing feet for goodness sakes. There is nothing Christian with opposing healthcare. The only mistake is it's not universal.
Li'l Lil (Houston)
The Catholic Catechism teaches health care is a right.

Scalia and Alito should look it up and follow the church teachings here, or they should stop identifying as Catholics.
Empirical Conservatism (United States)
Justice Scalia is an opera lover. Surely he knows when the fat lady has sung.
David (Rochester, NY)
I have to disagree with the editorial board's comment that the Supreme Court never should have taken this case in the first instance. My understanding is that the DC Circuit ruled that the subsidies were not permitted for participants in the federal exchange, whereas the Fourth Circuit ruled that they were. Regardless of whether the arguments advanced by petitioners were frivolous, a circuit split is precisely the circumstance where the Supreme Court should step in. Left unresolved, this would have meant that in one place, people buying on the federal exchange would get subsidies, whereas in another place, they would not. The real problem lies with the D.C. Circuit in buying into the petitioner's absurd argument in the first place.
Koyote (The Great Plains)
Can we just move forward now?
David (Northern Virginia)
Judy wrote that for some people "the cost of their premiums, subsidized or not, is simply extortion by the insurance companies facilitated by the government."

So true. The cheapest coverage for us is over 1/3 of our income. Many people, especially fellow progressives, refuse to believe that this could be true. However, the cost is easy to verify on HealthCare.gov. We are 61 and 62, live in VA zip code 20158, and make just over $64K.

On-line, you will see that the cheapest premium is over $900 a month with a deductible of $12,500 in network. Out of network, the deductible is $25,500. Further, the two deductible pools are mutually exclusive - a dollar in one is not a dollar in the other. Theoretically, we could end up spending more than $48,000 before we got the first penny in coverage. Of course that will never happen because we can't afford the deductibles; which buy the way, also means that we really can't afford to go to the doctor either.

For us, just about any random word is likely to be more apt for the coverage we have than is the word "affordable" .
Rick Gage (mt dora)
Please google the phrase "Medicare for all" and I will pre-welcome you to the club.
bdub (Chicago)
It seems David is misinformed about his insurance costs. It is likely that he will never have to pay the $12,500 deductible because his regular medical costs will be negotiated down by the insurance company.

This from Healthcare.gov website:
"Having health insurance can lower your costs even when you haven’t met your deductible. Insurance companies negotiate their rates with providers and you’ll pay that discounted rate. People without insurance pay, on average, twice as much for care.

This means when you use a network provider you pay less for the same services than someone who doesn’t have coverage – even before you meet your deductible.

•Sometimes these savings are small. If you’re insured and use a network provider, you may pay $25 for a flu shot instead of the $40 someone without coverage pays.

•In other cases the savings can be big. If use a network provider, you may pay $85 for an office visit instead of the $150 someone without coverage pays. Savings can be even higher for more expensive services.

So even if you don’t reach your deductible during the year, you can save a lot of money on your covered medical services just by being enrolled in an insurance plan.
Owat Agoosiam (New York)
Unfortunately, your yearly income puts you just above the threshold for subsidies.
Nevertheless, at $900/month, that exchange premium is above the 8% of your income threshold that would require you to buy insurance.
Therefore, you are under no obligation to buy coverage through an exchange.
For you, it's like Obamacare never existed. Go out and buy whatever policy you can find, just like you did before the law was passed.
buster (PA)
The ACA lives, and maybe marriage equality will become the law of the land. It'll be a good week.
Vincenzo (Albuquerque, NM, USA)
Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege --- as it is in most other developed countries; instead it's a perfect pander (to borrow from Jimmy Cliff's lyrics) --- to the unmitigated greed of Big Pharma and Big Insurance. Medicare for all (single payer) is really the only solution that writes-out corporate greed, the parasite that is sucking America's lifeblood and turning us into an irrelevancy, except as the planet's greatest consumer --- a parasite of an even higher order.
CQ (Maine)
I don't understand why the House of Representatives doesn't just vote to repeal the law. What? They did? How many times? Really? Oh. OK. Sorry.
MadWizard (Atlanta, GA)
If there was ever any doubt, this vote proves “Mo” Scalia, “Curly" Thomas, and “Larry”Alito are Republicans in robes.
karen (benicia)
I a a democrat, but there is nothing wrong with someone in robes being a republican. I am quite sure that Roberts is also a republican, but he did the right thign, thank heavens. This really is not a gop-dem case, at least it should not be.
DaveB (Boston MA)
where have you been living for the last 30 years? Certainly not in the USA.
Brice C. Showell (Philadelphia)
More important than validation of the Affordable Care Act, this may serve as a critical step closer to a national health care system which will be needed as a supplement to FEMA in an era of greater stress on our health due to climate change. The Ebola scare and increasing animal-borne diseases should alert us.
Rick Gage (mt dora)
"We should start calling it Scotuscare." As long as we're making up words here's mine, "Scaliaosis": the inability to see past a predetermined, partisan argument. Also know as "Judicial Blindness". There is no cure because none is asked for.
dbroper (Poway, CA)
Using Scalia's lexicon, George W. should be remembered as the SCOTUS POTUS.
Dawit Cherie (Saint Paul, MN)
God bless Chief Justice John Roberts. He acts again with such decency to solidify our faith in the American justice system. His actions are all the more important in these obscene political days where some lunatic billionaires get to buy our politicians, sometimes even justices, to do their bid. God bless, Justice John Roberts.
PH (Near NYC)
Chief Justice Roberts endorsed and enabled the "lunatic billionaire gets to buy our elections" part.
NN (Menlo Park, CA)
I wouldn't go overboard..... this is the same guy who brought us Shelby County and Citizens United.
Iced Teaparty (NY)
Daw it, your friend Roberts put the billionaires in power with citizens United.
Ann (California)
Sigh of relief! Now can we go after the health insurance and big pharma companies to negotiate fair prices and savings? Big pharma's top 11 CEOs pulled in $1B in compensation in 10 years. The top 5 "healthcare" insurance company CEOs raked in $70M in 1 year. That's where the Republicans--who have tax payer health insurance coverage for life--need to focus their wrath and energies. Guys, get a move on!!
DaveB (Boston MA)
Repubs go after big pharma and insurance companies? You mean the corporations that are people, too? That buy and sell politicians like used cars, per the SCOTUS Citizens United ruling? Methinks youse dreaming, Ann.
winthropo muchacho (durham, nc)
The editorial is absolutely right: this case should have never had a cert. grant. A cert. denied last year would have, in effect, affirmed the 4th Circuit decision to dismiss, and saved the country months of fretting over what the generally unprincipled conservative majority might do to the ACA.

A troubling aspect of the case was Scalia's puerile rant in his dissent, in which, of course, hip pocket Clarence and Sam joined. Scalia is an embarrassment to the Court and to the majesty of American jurisprudence in general. To have two other justices endorse his lack of comity shows the depths, in historical terms, to which the Court has sunk.
Islander (Texas)
Scalia's dissent makes WAYYYYYY more sense than the Majority Opinion. John Roberts is proving himself to be an intellectually dishonest Chief Justice.
Steve Brennwald (D.C.)
It does if you don't believe in context and subtlety. Do you think the ACA's intent was to gut itself by only offering help to those with State exchanges?

By way of example, the first amendment states that Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech. Scalia's "Barney Fife-like " rigid interpretation of that amendment would clearly outlaw laws prohibiting free speech when that speech constitutes a threat (to another), as the amendment is clear - NO law.

Thank God for common sense among some of our Justices...
Tim (New York)
Justice Scalia is a sore loser.
TGregory (near Montpelier, Vermont)
Look, the legal principles of statutory interpretation that the majority chose to use today only apply where the plain meaning of a statute is ambiguous. There is nothing ambiguous about the words "established by the state." I supported Obama in 2008, and believe that the ACA is good for the American economy. But the law is the law, and the Justices should not be in the business of correcting "mistakes" in federal statutes, no matter how technical seeming the correction. This is simply the job of Congress. End of story. This is an incredibly slippery slope.
NN (Menlo Park, CA)
Yep, the card said "Moops". Keep telling yourself that.
HS (Connecticut)
That was not the only instance in which the exchanges were mentioned - there are many examples of the law's intent, and in more substantive sections. If we went by the letter of the law only, then what's the need for a Supreme Court?
TGregory (near Montpelier, Vermont)
Does that have something to do with a TV show? Turn off the tube and read court decision once in a while. You might learn something.
RJPost (Baltimore)
Helped millions pay for Healthcare? I think a more accurate statement would be that it ratifies the Governments redistribution so that I and others have to pay for indigents healthcare entitlements
Redlaw (Huron, Ohio)
You were paying for it already in the form of high premiums and health care costs to cover the uninsured.
wholecrush (Hannawa Falls)
Disgusting.

If you had insurance before the ACA, you helped pay for others' coverage.

If you hate Americans and America so much then you should leave.
DR (New England)
You were already doing that. Who do you think paid the ER bills for the uninsured.

If you want people to be able to pay their own way, support a living wage.
Ed Miner (Anchorage)
Just read the Obamacare decision. Roberts, writing for the majority, closes with a respectful and well-reasoned: "Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter."

Scalia's dissent, on the other hand, has all the snarkiness of a Maureen Dowd column:

"That is of course quite absurd,"

"It is probably piling on to add"

"the Court comes up with feeble argument after feeble argument"

"The Court’s next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery"

"Roaming even farther afield . . . the Court turns to"

"This reasoning suffers from no shortage of flaws."

"Perhaps sensing the dismal failure of its efforts. . . the Court tries to palm off the pertinent statutory phrase as “inartful drafting.”

"Even less defensible, if possible, is the Court’s claim"

"Rather than rewriting the law under the pretense of interpreting it"

"The somersaults of statutory interpretation . . . will be cited endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence"

"the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites."

Oh to be so sure of one's self. . . And so willing to mock one's fellow jurists.
Charles Funk (Columbia SC)
Snarkiness?? Oh please! A brilliant, stinging rebuttal, and you call it snarkiness? Come to think of it, liberals do find it irritating when they're directly confronted with the truth.
DaveB (Boston MA)
Mr. Funk, please take your own advice, "confront the truth," and read the score: 6-3.

Oh, and please direct me to your on-the-record criticism of the Scotus ruling in 2000 when Mr. "Defer to the States" Scalia interfered with the state of Florida's presidential election?
Charles Funk (Columbia SC)
6-3 = 5 liberals and an imbecile - that's your idea of the "truth"?

I remember the 2000 election - that was the one where the unions weren't allowed to stuff the ballot boxes a SECOND time.

Good memory there, Aristotle.
M. (California)
Can we please stop wasting our hard-earned tax dollars employing Justice Scalia? His response to every case is obvious at the outset, so he adds nothing by being there.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
Maybe Scalia's example is slowly convincing the rest of court that sophistry doesn't play well in public policy.
Aaron (Ladera Ranch, CA)
Hate to be a buzz kill, but now that's settled can anyone please explain to me how we are going to continue to pay for this thing after Federal subsidies expire?
karen (benicia)
that's the job of congress. They can find the money same as they find the money to fund our over-bloated military. surely our citizen's health is more important than more bombs, isn't it? No buzz kill needed.
epmeehan (Aldie. VA)
Glad this is over - what a waste of time. We need to improve the ACA over time not keep challenging it.

It is not perfect, but at least it is an attempt to move in the right direction. The Republicans and others who waste their time on silly legal challenges should be happy that in some ways it is bring some free market aspects to to the process with higher deductibles and choice.

As always we now have to police it and figure out how people cannot game it - which they will do....
RC (MN)
Obamacare is basically a gift to the health care and insurance industries, to be paid for by working middle class Americans who don't qualify for taxpayer subsidies. It is exactly the opposite of what the country needs, which is to rein in the exorbitant costs of medical tests and procedures in the US. Obamacare will threaten the US economy as it increases the %GDP we spend for health care, a large component of which is nonproductive.
shrinking food (seattle)
and of course the climb in costs have flattened out - what exactly is anything do reps know
steve (santa cruz, ca.)
Well, of course it is, in a sense, a gift to the healthcare and insurance industries; a single payer plan would have been more efficient (no duplication of bureaucracies). But it can't actually "threaten the U.S. economy for the good and simple reason that the money spent on it is money that we are giving to ourselves. Money that is put into the pockets of workers here is spent here as opposed to what happens when we, say, buy a Mercedes: in that example, much of what you shell out for it is going to German workers and executives and only serves to increase our trade and current accounts deficit. You haven't really analyzed this, you're just parroting a Fox talking point.
A. Stanton (Dallas, TX)
I pay my own way for health care and always have, including times when I had no health insurance. Here's what I am seeing now. Waiting rooms are fuller than ever. Waiting time to see specialists is getting longer all the time. Co-payments are ridiculously high. Idiotic amount of paperwork accompanies all treatment. More foreign doctors than ever before. Doctors seem to me to be unhappier than ever before. (I know several who might have worked longer, but who decided to retire.)
Doctors talk to their computers and to their assistants, but rarely to me. The magazines in the waiting room are old and lousy. No matter what I go in for, the thing is always my fault and untreatable. They keep pestering me with unwanted reminders about my next appointment. Other than that, I guess I'm doing OK.
G (va)
This case provides strong reasons why Supreme Court justices should be term limited.
Give them twenty years, or even twenty-five. But to have the shadow of a Scalia or Thomas looming over the country for forty years is a horrible prospect. As things stand, no matter how doddering, a justice will be with us for life.
Kelly (NYC)
You mean you pay your own way for health insurance, not health care. Those are very different.
DR (New England)
So what's your point?
Steve S (Minnesota)
The Affordable Care Act is not perfect. I have no respect for the Republican party because instead of offering ways to legitimately make it better, they just want to completely destroy it. Since the party would probably approve of corporal punishment, they should be spanked and sent to a corner until they learn to play respectfully with other's building blocks.
Charles Fleming (Arizona)
Justice Scalia and his doppelganger, Justice Thomas in the Affordable Care Act dissent, brings dishonor to the Supreme Court. Kudos to the Chief for recognizing that the case before the Court was a political maneuver. His support of the Act saved the Court's reputation.
Andrew W (Florida)
"But of course it was the justices’ choice to hear challenges to the law in 2012 and this term, even though both were legally frivolous."
The 2012 decision was 5-4. I wonder how often the NYT thinks SCOTUS splits 5-4 on legally frivolous issues. The bias of the NYT editorial staff just gets worse and worse.
Sequel (Boston)
@Andrew W: The 2012 case was pretty frivolous. It was pretextual. The right did not like the ACA, so they searched for any constitutional pretext to challenge it.

They were not defending the constitution. They merely hoped to do what Congress could not -- repeal the law -- by finding the individual mandate to be illegal.

The 5-4 decision resolved the matter by clarifying: the entire issue was one of a petty, legalistic argument over whether the individual mandate was a penalty or a tax -- not a patriotic call to arms to save the Constitution from the tyrant's sword.
Kelly (NYC)
It is an editorial OPINION. Of course it is written to display the thinking of the editorial staff. But bias? I don't think so. There's nothing unreasonable in thinking that the suits were frivolous.
steve (santa cruz, ca.)
The various members of the editorial staff have their different points of view, some liberal, some conservative. At the risk of telling you something that you surely must know, this piece is an EDITORIAL; people get to express their biases in editorials. Moreover, the idea that there is even such a thing as an objective point of view misunderstands the very nature of a point of view, i.e. when I'm standing HERE I see THIS and not THAT. Explain to yourself how a subject can possibly escape his/her subjectivity.
Stephanie (Camarillo, CA)
You may want to edit that fourth graph: "But the current challenge, brought to you by some of the same tireless group of conservative and libertarian activists..."
Bernice Glenn (<br/>)
While most of the comments applauded the Supreme Court decision none discussed dental care as part of an affordable health issue. The NYT has reported on these costs as compared to other countries, but also on the many people who travel to other countries for dental care they cannot afford in the US. For those who cannot afford treatment, either in the US or other countries, prolonged neglect affects the health of the whole person -- serious infections, bone rot, malnutrition, and depression, which can then be covered by the ACA.
Adrianne (Massachusetts)
I've always wondered why teeth were not considered a part of medicine. You can die from an abscess. You require teeth to eat. They are part of the body. And while we're at it why don't we throw in eyeglasses because last I looked eyes were part of the body too.
Bruce L-P (Cambridge, MA)
In his dissenting opinion, Justice Scalia (there's a notorious oxymoron if there ever was one!) shows himself to be so around-the-bend angry that some of his fellow citizens are able to receive health insurance coverage with some government assistance that he is incapable of maintaining a proper judicial temperament, and instead he resorts to such unrestrained sarcasm that he becomes thoroughly petty and snide. He is such a mean and bitter individual.
Stacy (Manhattan)
Just read Scalia's dissenting opinion. What a piece of priceless sophistry! It twists and turns and makes irrelevant points about this and that. It says we shouldn't, of course, look at little pieces of a law without considering the whole - and then goes on immediately to do just that. Its tone is sarcastic, self-satisfied, slippery, undignified - like a smarty-pants snake. If it wasn't so emblematic of the nation's fall into glib cynicism, I'd write it off as comic relief.
Dollfish (Houston, TX)
The Supreme Court has just saved the GOP. Now they can go back to condemning the ACA without having any replacement.
Robert Eller (.)
SCOTUScare is what I call Scalia's salary, pension and benefits.
Patrick Stevens (Mn)
I am surprised and happy with this decision from a Supreme Court that I thought was in the pocket of the Republican Party with their vitriolic attack on anything Obama. This reminds me that sometimes the law actually works the way it should. Hurray!!!
Carboxylate (State)
In view of the entirety of the law and its overall goal, SCOTUS clearly got this one right. Still shocked that an obvious drafting error really had to make it to the highest court of the land.

But it is very worth it to read Scalia's dissent, if just for pure entertainment. "Interpretive jiggery-pokery" "Pure applesauce" "SCOTUScare"... Once again, I have to award him style points. Only a troll intent on causing havoc could interpret the phasing in a narrow literal sense as he did.
Daniel A. Greenbum (New York, NY)
It is a shame that Justice Scalia does not understand the concept of judicial restraint.
Mwk (Massachusetts)
How is it possible that in EVERY OTHER country in the world, Health Care is considered a good thing, something that everyone should have? But, in the United States, it's an evil that is going to bring us to ruin? When did this country slip into an alternate universe, and where is that worm hole so that we can use to join the rest of the world again?
RJPost (Baltimore)
MWK: you are correct in that now we are as 2nd rate as those other countries with an entitlement mentality, lowered productivity and seem to gladly want to walk away from responsibility to lead the world.
John Van de Graaff (Northampton, Mass.)
Marvelous--I always think of this in the context of the ACA.
Steve Brennwald (D.C.)
It's called the Koch brothers and their ilk. Laws that help the vast majority of Americans often hurt their (the Kochs') efforts to redistribute wealth upward to their very highest echelon...
The Buddy (Astoria, NY)
Long live SCOTUS-Care! Hurray!
wholecrush (Hannawa Falls)
Thank you for repeatedly stressing that SCOTUS should never have agreed to hear this case. "Specious" and "frivolous" are good descriptions of the people who filed this case and their intent.

So, I agree with this piece, until the last paragraph:

"It is to the Supreme Court’s credit that in this case, the majority of justices managed to stay above the politics of the issue..."

That's not accurate. It was a calculated and grossly political decision to even hear this case. That decision lent credibility--where none exists--to the right-wing extremists who wanted to sabotage the ACA.

It wouldn't be surprising to learn that Chief Justice Roberts calculated that, by agreeing to hear this case, his fellow Conservatives could use the propaganda machines at their disposal to hammer the President and Congressional Democrats for months, then make the Court seem reasonable with a ruling that "allows" the ACA to continue in its current form.

King v. Burwell was nothing more than a GOP campaign tactic in hopes the party could re-take the White House in 2016. The politicization of SCOTUS is disgusting and shameful.
BlueNC (Chapel Hill, NC)
You just have to wonder (and'm not going to say all) about Republican's and their ilk, humanity. Think about all of their wasted time, energy and money to undo this societal accomplishment... Had they spent these same amount of resources to improve the ACA, we would be much better off as country.
KO (First Coast)
The truth is the (not all) GOP does not want to improve the ACA. They only want to improve the cash flow to their handlers.
Katmandu (Princeton)
Read the opinion and you will understand why it was absolutely critical that the Court resolve the split in the 4th Circuit. While I disagree with the majority opinion, the issue required the high Court to resolve it - billions of subsidies were at stake affecting millions of insureds. That is what the courts are for - to interpret what the law means and this 900 page boondoggle that was concocted in back rooms without the proper amount of debate is fraught with errors, omissions and other mistakes. It's not a Republican issue, it's not a Democrat issue - it's an issue of "what does this mean?" The Court settled the issue (wrongly, but it's settled).
John (Napa, Ca)
You have to remember they are serving their constituency quite well on this one. Wealthy people do NOT want to pay for health care for the throngs of those that cannot afford it.
chickenlover (Massachusetts)
Who would have ever thought that there were three people in the USA, leave alone three on the Supreme Court bench, that did not understand the main purpose of this law. They are truly willing to drag the people of the USA, that would be us folks, back into the pre-historic age even as the rest of the world is moving into the 22nd century and beyond.
jb (weston ct)
I understand the reasoning behind the tawdry legislative tactics that lead to passage of ACA; the end justifies the means. But I was under the impression that the judicial system in general, and the Supreme Court in particular, was created to focus on the means, not the end. That is no longer the case apparently, and we are now in uncharted constitutional territory.
Robert Stewart (Chantilly, Virginia)
The Supreme Court should not have, in the first place, ever accepted this case, period. If it had not been for the conservative politicians in robes currently serving on the Court, this case would not have been accepted.

Of course, now we can expect more proposed legislation from the "deadbeat," uninterested in doing an real work, Republicans in the House and Senate to destroy the ACA.
Knut-D (Greenwich, CT)
When will we as a people insist that the Congress abide by the same laws and policies that the rest of us have to endure? Specifically, why should we pay for pensions, disability, healthcare, and vacations for a bunch of workers who are making more than 95% of the American households working a part time job (3 days a week), and have 4 weeks paid vacation a year? If a congressman or Senator feels that healthcare is not a right, then he/she shouid opt out of the federal program. If they want to terminate Social Security, then they should put their money where their mouth is and opt out of the federal pension plan. Notice I said plan. Federal employees do not participate in Social Security. Maybe it's time they did and join the rest of the world.
NM (NY)
Removed as they sometimes seem, it is good to see that the Justices do not have detached understandings about rulings' impact. The majority today understand what upholding the ACA means for American citizens at last able to have comprehensive coverage, employers who can no longer misclassify employees as ineligible for benefits, or for insurers whose policies have now been written within the provisions of healthcare reform. Now that this has been codified, the kinks can be smoothed out and representatives can move on from "repealing Obamacare" as a political priority.
Dp (10705)
There people in this world who feel that only those with money should be allowed to have the best health care I am one who say that it's wrong. health care should be a universal right to all...
frejasif (Marquette, MI)
A Canadian citizen now residing in the United States, I am gratified to see a number of NY Times readers reacting to the SCOTUS decision with calls for single-payer health insurance, or at least a public insurance option.

My beloved sister in Toronto recently died of Ovarian cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the disease. For two years, she participated in world-class trials, and received excellent care, both in hospital and at home, where she passed peacefully among her family. This would not have been possible were it not for the Canadian health-care system, whose government-funded doctors and nurses and other administrators were free to manage her care at all stages with integrity and commitment.

American health-care workers are, in my (albeit limited) experience, equally committed to caring for their charges. But the American health-insurance industry and its hired guns (i.e., Washington lobbyists) seem committed to profit over providing truly accessible health services to all Americans, thus limiting the availability of excellent care to those who can afford high premiums and/or deductibles and co-pays.

The American economy is the largest in the world. That the country does not provide good health care to ALL its citizens is nothing less than scandalous.

One can but hope that the court's affirmation of the ACA will embolden progressive politicians and policy advocates to move toward truly affordable coverage for all. Look north, friends.
David Folts (Girard , Ohio)
The Supreme Court rose above the politics and made the correct decision. A spurious argument was made about the subsidies that never should have reached the court. Thank goodness that millions of people that will be able to continue to keep their insurance .
NM (NY)
The world is watching. BBC World News just broadcast a summary of the ruling, along with an excerpt of President Obama speaking, explaining that even with the ups and downs of the past five years, healthcare reform has largely worked and that coverage is a right for all, not a privilege for a few. What a message to send: we, like Canada, France, Great Britain and others, value citizens' health.
DR (New England)
Republicans often seem to miss the fact that the world is watching and most people around the globe don't think very highly of them.
soxared04/07/13 (Crete, Illinois)
We should all be thankful for the common-sense ruling by this Court. This is no time for gloating. We should take note, however, of the injudicious phrasing of Justice Antonin Scalia, who in full-range temper tantrum mode, unintentionally roped his institution into what was always seen as a political dynamic. Republicans have always crusaded against SCOTUS nominees who are moderate or progressive as being "activist" judges, a deliberate smear against any presidential Court appointee who might view the law in the much more broader context of its wider application for a majority of citizens than for the narrower interests of commerce, industry, and recalcitrance. I've never agreed with any of Justice Scalia's opinions; as a citizen, that is my right, but I am appalled when a sitting justice throws off all pretense to judicial impartiality and indulges himself in the meanest, rankest disagreement with a decision reached by two-thirds of his Court. Justice Scalia's reference to "Scotuscare" is more appropriate for the tavern, for the campaign trail, or the unashamedly partisan disciples of rancor whose greatest achievement is the denial of reasonable and affordable health care to a majority of American citizens. The 6-3 majority recognized, also, the terrible and catastrophic consequences to the health care industry that would result from Obamacare's defeat. Justice Scalia's unprofessional harangue should remind us that elections do, indeed, have lasting consequences.
Chris Parel (McLean, VA)
Yes, providing basic healthcare is a function of enlightened (and unenlightened) governments the world over. One side wanted to take healthcare away from the poor and vulnerable. It is the same side that wants not to believe in climate change. Perhaps we need another papal encyclical to reaffirm our moral obligation to work for the health and human dignity of everyone...and to reaffirm that the eye of the needle continues too small for camels or luxury cars to pass through...
Gonzo (West Coast)
Although the decision is welcome, it says more about the court than the Affordable Care Act. It confirms that Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito Jr. are hard-core political activists. And I find Scalia's remarks increasingly snarky and childish, inappropriate for a Supreme Court justice.
I feel embarrassed for him.

Although the decision is welcome, it says more about the court than the Affordable Care Act. It confirms that Thomas, Alito and Scalia are hard-core political activists posing as justices in their robe-draped judicial drag. And Antonin Scalia's remarks are becoming increasingly snarky, inappropriate for a justice of the highest court in the land. He has damaged the Supreme Court's brand.
ProudAmericaan (Indiana)
I am one of the few physicians in practice that support Obama care. Almost every physician around me objects to one trivial part of the law or another. Our Congressman Larry Bucshon who was a cardiac physician is dead set against the law. It is a shame. While I do not profess to know the intricacy of the law, I personally look at this law as a means to catch up with the civilized world and attempt in a limited way to provide basic and affordable health care for our citizens. It is about time.
karen (benicia)
thank you for speaking out. I honor you for your desire to provide for ALL citizens-- many doctors do not seem to share that value.
Mark Hugh Miller (San Francisco, California)
Clearing this bar, though as many here have said should not have been required, is a long step toward national maturity. The US can afford and indeed would benefit economically from a single-payer, universal healthcare system. The insurance companies’ stranglehold on our current system is unacceptable and must end. They are responsible - one could rightly say also guilty - in the suffering and deaths of thousands of Americans who for reasons beyond their control could not afford health insurance. The companies have shown scant compassion; their insatiable corporate lust for ever-higher profit margins comes at a high human cost. America is a great nation, but it cannot abandon its citizens to lives without a right - a fundamental civil right - to health and “the pursuit of happiness”, the latter requiring also a commitment to solid, practical public education that produces informed, skilled, and culturally literate graduates. The USA needs an informed, well-employed electorate, lest our democracy be fatally undermined. If the Koch brothers and their cohort want to avoid a future in which the one-percenters require private armies to protect themselves from the angry, sick and starving, they had best abandon their quest to turn the rest of America into their serfs. Today’s decision was overdue. Now let’s keep going toward a just and more economically viable society for all.
Anne (Cincinnati)
At last. Reason prevails. This case did not bear hearing. Even the Republicans belatedly realized the potential damage. The attack was blatant hypocrisy. Senators and Representatives receive free health care--FREE HEALTH CARE--so how dare they try to take it away from everyone?
marian (Philadelphia)
You are correct that the SCOTUS saved Obamacare again, however, I have been dismayed that the SCOTUS even bothered to hear this frivolous case in this first place. This was a huge waste of time and money not to mention all the anxiety caused to the people whose very life depends upon the ACA while they were waiting for this verdict. If they (SCOTUS) refused to hear this case, all this could have been saved and put to bed months ago.
The only good thing to come out of it was to see once again what rabid right wing dolts are Thomas, Alito and the delusional Scalia.
John (Ohio)
As I read the biographies of the three dissenters from this decision, it appears that two sets of their parents would have been eligible for the subsidies: as young adults (Scalia) and throughout adulthood (Thomas) had the ACA been in effect then.

What do their votes say about their humanity when the purpose of the ACA was stated so clearly?
terence (georgia, u.s.a)
of course the ACA shouldnt have been totally scrapped. but in reality, by the highest court in the land it was graded a 67 out of 100. it gets a diploma.
Tom Osterling (New Jersey)
By electoral standards 67% would be a landslide.
karen (benicia)
I challenge you to find a law with a grade of 100%. Laws are tweaked, improved upon, altered all the time-- that is part of our system. That is how existing laws grow with the times. Perfect is the enemy of the good because perfect is impossible to achieve.
ez123 (Texas)
It used to be the courts interpreted the law, as written. In this case we see instead the court ignoring the plain language in the law, as well as the commentary about the section in question when the law was written by those who wrote it. Despite this, the court substitutes their interpretation of the desired outcome.

At this point, since we are no longer a country of laws, just judges, Congress can now pass any bill saying anything. Then later after a few test drives, tell the Court what they really want to accomplish and let the court rewrite it the way the majority wants.
Lawyer/DJ (Planet Earth)
City of Arlington v. FCC says you don't know what you're talking about.
ez123 (Texas)
If true, that still a sad statement. Write a poor piece of legislation, don't like the how its working out, then amend by judge.
Sumac (Virginia)
So, Republicans, here's an idea. Draft your "comprehensive replacement" law with a provision that repeals ACA and then debate and vote on it. Wouldn't that constitute a "repeal and replace" action? Any GOP takers?
Stacy (Manhattan)
That would require more than running their mouths.
Bill (Port Washington, NY)
It is not up to the courts to determine what the framers of a law intended to happen. The courts role is to follow exactly what is written. If they think that what the framers really meant was such and such they need to find the law invalid and send it back to the framers to be rewritten. Mistakes that are made by the writers of a law should not be corrected by the courts. That is legislating from the bench and I oppose it under any circumstances.
Lawyer/DJ (Planet Earth)
Congress was clear as to their intent.

It's only partisan hacks that think otherwise. No member of Congress that voted on the ACA thought subsidies only went to people in states that set up their own exchange.

It's laughable that you think otherwise.
John Harris (Pennsylvania)
Ever since the precedent set by Marbury v. Madison (1803) it has exactly been the court's role to determine what the framers of a law intended.
S.H. (Pennsylvania)
Thank you, President Obama, for being steadfastly supportive of the needs of the American people! God bless you!
SuperNaut (The Wezt)
Last week the SCJustice's were villains, this week they're heroes.

If the ACA is settled then so is Heller v. D.C. right?
Robert (Out West)
Yes, for now at least Heller says that a) there's an individual right to possess a gun, and b) a state may reasonably limit that right.
Larry Roth (upstate NY)
Make no mistake, the fight over Obamacare has little to do with health and a lot to do with A) conservatives being terrified people might come to expect the government can work for them better than the 'free' markets, and B) the idea that the Democratic party might actually be good for something other than serving as a right-wing punching bag.

The one good thing about the Rightwing obsession with destroying Obamacare is that their conduct makes plain that they are morally and intellectually bankrupt. The outright lies, threats, and hysteria they are displaying over the fact that millions will continue to get healthcare, and that thousands among them will not die needlessly, should make it perfectly clear to all with eyes to see that the Republican party is not on the side of America.
Mir (vancouver)
Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. must be put to pasture they are so out of touch with reality and do not care about the common folks.
treabeton (new hartford, ny)
Now the GOP can focus on its other key goals: denying women their constitutional right to an abortion; blocking substantive immigration reform; opposing same-sex marriage; denying climate change and resisting environmental regulations and, importantly, reducing the massive tax burden now experienced by rich Americans. Clearly, a winning platform................Memo to the GOP: "You have to know when to fold 'em..."
robertblond (montreal)
Could Congress not have amended the 4 words instead of wasting the Supreme Court's time?
WK (MD)
The present Congress would not amend to improve the ACA if it would save the lifes of all of the citizens of an entire state.
Lawyer/DJ (Planet Earth)
That would need the GOP to do something.
shrinking food (seattle)
that would have taken cooperation from the gop. does that answer your question?
Lynda (Gulfport, FL)
Relief rather than celebration is the best description of all of the reactions to the 6-3 decision on the ACA. While the usual grumpy comments from those opposed to the ACA were made, no opponent had to come up with an alternative for the millions who would have lost health insurance which provided access had the decision been different. And ACA supporters were not inclined to gloat over a victory which could be limited.

The most significant comment was from a political analyst who highlighted the failure of any ACA supporter to clearly--and confidently--tell people how the ACA is an improvement in providing access to health care through a private insurance market. There is a constant negative refrain from opponents. but no effective responses from ACA supporters.

Many of us are reluctant ACA supporters. It is better than what it replaced, but not what we wanted (expanded Medicare leading to single payer). Our reluctant support is a real contrast to the vehement opposition shouted from all media at any opportunity. We--as President Obama did--cannot forget the initial roll-out disaster. We cringe over the sneaky changes to policies by an insurance industry focused solely on profit. (Of course these changes were already occurring but now the ACA is blamed.) We fear to list in debates the many good ideas to control costs and improve access that the ACA provides to all citizens.

Perhaps this victory will give us the courage to match the shouting by ACA opponents.
Old lawyer (Tifton, GA)
If everybody had been as conservative as Scalia, we would never have left the Stone Age, assuming we even got that far.
Jasenn (Los Angeles)
I'm not going to hold my breath, but maybe, just maybe, the SCOTUS has taken a turn towards reason rather than the irrational standing of the 3 dissenting Justices.
Jon (Chicago)
"This is what government was built to do: provide all Americans with access to quality, affordable and often-lifesaving health care."

I must have forgotten the part of the Constitution where it is said that the purpose of the FEDERAL government is to provide access to healthcare. Whether or not the goals of the ACA are a noble and just cause, the ever expanding size and scope of the federal government should be cause for concern for any American who values their liberty. I myself am quite worried.
Vhh (TN)
From the Constitution: "to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;"

A overwhelming majority of human beings, including the Founders, have long considered being alive and healthy to be the very foundation of General Welfare. Even the slave states insisted that each slave be counted as 3/5 of a human being.
Mari (London)
You would rather have the 'liberty' to be fleeced by Insurance Companies than have the (voted-for) Govt arrange a legislative and oversight infrastructure to help everyone achieve health coverage?
Health care is not a 'consumer good' whose provision can be left to the markets to control - healthcare is a human need, not a choice - and it is not ethical to leave its provision and pricing to profit-making companies, who effectively have the power of blackmail to charge what they want so that sick people can be cured rather than be left to die.
Robert Eller (.)
A healthy populace is of benefit to the country. Therefore a good healthcare system can be considered in the interests of our common defense. Which the Constitution definitely cares about.

I'm not saying that our current healthcare system delivers such an outcome. It doesn't. That system should also encourage healthy diets and healthy exercise (Such as an oft-reviled-for-reasons-I-can't-fathom First Lady advocates for.), treatment rather than incarceration for addictions, and rational, as opposed to whatever-it-takes, approaches to end of life care.

We collectively know so much more, and can do so much more, health wise, than we could in the past. But the knowledge is far beyond what the average citizen can acquire and work with. It makes sense to socialize the dispensing and actualization of this knowledge and expertise.

And important part of freedom and liberty should be freedom from ignorance, and freedom from self-serving misdirection.
John D (San Diego)
Oh, stop it, New York Times. I'm ok with ACA, but lets cease with the preposterous fiction that this decision helps millions "pay" for health insurance. In point of fact, the part of Obamacare at the center of this ruling does the exact opposite--it helps millions get health insurance without having to pay for it. That's the entire point of a "subsidy." One guess where that "subsidy" comes from. Hint: it's not the Magic Money Tree in the White House rose garden.
Robert (Out West)
Okay, so can we have your Social Security, Medicare, and tax breaks back?
shrinking food (seattle)
still no alternate plan from the gop?
karen (benicia)
Lots of people ARE paying their own way for Obamacare. Self-employed people for instance, or those with preexisting conditions. Many people can keep their kids on their insurance till age 26-- they are paying. You are right--many can't afford health insurance-- hence the subsidies-- but if they use it the way the rest of us do-- for wellness, prevention, etc.-- it will be a real savings in catastrophic or emergency care, versus the small price for subsidies.
Inchoate But Earnest (Northeast US)
SC "saves" ACA? I can only guess some member of the pitiably inept handful of 'health care reporters' the NYT employs was enlisted to write this editorial's headline. I'm picturing Robert Pear, but it may have been another of that bumbling troupe.

The word you may have been looking for was "affirms" or "upholds". "Saves" not merely wrong, it's ridiculous. And we're laughing AT you, not with you, Editorial Board.
Jay (Flyover, USA)
Nice summary of this ridiculous case. Now, in hindsight, we can see how foolish it all was. Until the decision was made, however, there was the fear that stupidity would win out and healthcare chaos would ensue. I'm happy 6 justices made the sensible decision.
Lawyer/DJ (Planet Earth)
Most of us didn't need hindsight, and saw this case for the joke that it was.
fast&furious (the new world)
Thank you again President Obama and Vice President Biden. From the bottom of my heart.
Dave from Worcester (Worcester, Ma.)
I guess you can say that Roberts' judicial philosophy saved Obamacare. With regards to the ACA, he has refused to overturn or undermine the law of the land as enacted by Congress. He has not acted as an "activist judge."
Steve the Commoner (Charleston, SC)
The Supreme court's decision on the Affordable Care Act does not make the higher premiums for families who actually pay taxes, college fees for their children, and struggle to pay their home mortgages. Perhaps the members of the Supreme Court can wet themselves in a state of happiness from today's decision, but there is a big difference between having health insurance and receiving medical care.

The middlemen in this ballet, Health Insurance Companies, are a parasitic lot, who obstruct Americans from actually receiving medical care in the first place.
Lew Fournier (Kitchener, Ont.)
Those companies love misery.
Lev Davidovitch Bronstein (reaching for the ozone)
That is their sole raison d'être.
Gemma (Austin, TX)
Absolutely SPOT ON.
Charles Funk (Columbia SC)
Free-loaders, deadbeats, and liberal hacks win again. Bill-payers loose.
DR (New England)
Who do you think paid the ER bills for the uninsured prior to the ACA? The health care fairy?
Glassyeyed (Indiana)
The Supreme Court needs Scotuscare to assist in the amputation of its dysfunctional right wing.
Michael J. Gorman (Whitestone, New York)
Fantastic!! Thank you, all the justices who rose above politics and stayed true to their oaths of office. Justice Roberts, you came through again.
Eochaid mac Eirc (Cambridge)
This is the third time the Court effectively amended a law duly passed by Congress in order to save it from itself.

That is remarkable.

and it is not Constitutional.
John Harris (Pennsylvania)
We don't have to worry about whether or not it's constitutional, since what you describe is not what happened.
mdalrymple4 (iowa)
Hopefully we will lose one or more of the three radical justices soon. So glad there were 6 clearer heads who voted to save ACA. Although to be honest I was looking forward to watching how the republicans would back pedal on keeping the federal funding going until the next election was over, since most or all of the states that had people losing funding were in the republican run states. It would have been hard even for those who only vote republican, no matter how much it hurts them personally, to forgive the politicians who continually tried to take away their healthcare. Let's see if they think they are still going to try to repeal the ACA for the next year or so or maybe they will try to get something done that is needed in the country - like infrastructure improvements, renewable energy, and making those at the top start paying a fair share to the country that helped make them so rich.
Michaelxyz (Waldo)
What this ruling shows is that there are 3 justices who will vote Conservative come rain or shine, absolutely regardless of the merits of the case before them.
Jim Wallace (Seattle)
Chief Justice Roberts saved the proverbial GOP dog from actually catching the car it was chasing. Imagine the spectacle of interrupting ACA subsidized cancer patients' chemo because they could no longer afford insurance. The fact that SCOTUS agreed to even hear the case is shameful and we're stuck with the three dissenting justices for years to come -- elections matter.
Jeff G (NJ)
It was very clear when the "Affordable" Care Act was being discussed that the subsidies only applied to people on the state exchanges. It was written that way to pressure the states to set up exchanges. By ignoring the intent and simple language the current SCTOUS has shown that it only cares about politics. This is a terrible day for the rule of law and separation of powers.
Jack (Eastern PA)
Funny - there is nothing to support your claim. As the testimony of those in congress at the time clearly states, there was never any intention to differentiate between state and federally run exchanges. And no where else in the 900 pages of the legislation, does it state that the state and federal exchanges should be treated differently. You may not like it, but congress did not intend to pressure the states - and not a single person in congress at the time has said otherwise.
Lynda (Gulfport, FL)
@JeffG Every Republican involved with the process that produced the ACA denies that "pressuring the states to set up exchanges" was discussed or intended by any language in the final ACA.

You can oppose legislation that allows people to obtain insurance so they can access health care under the current "for profit" medical system in the US, but you are not allowed to make up facts to support that opposition.
Ace (NYC)
I'm an attorney. You have no idea what you're talking about, Jeff. The four words that were supposedly in question are in a sub-sub clause of the law having to do with taxation. If Congress had wanted to sabotage its own law...but, then, what is the point of finishing that sentence when readers like you are so blinded by hatred of the president and what you call "socialism" (interesting when the exhanges in my state have Aetna, UHC, Blue Cross, etc. all competing for customers, which used to be called free-market capitalism,
june conway beeby (Kingston On)
It is a mystery to me how the Republicans can get any votes at all, as they have done recently. Any attempt to take medical care away from citizens should create community revulsion towards any party who would care so little about others.

I doubt if even those fortunate enough to afford their own medical care are that mean-spirited to choose to keep other citizens from the right to healthy lives for themselves and their children.
Cynical Jack (Washington DC)
And yet they do get lots of votes. They win lots of governorships, where you can't blame gerrymandering and the vagaries of our population distribution. So you should recognize there is something you do not understand. Part of it, for example, is that lots of Americans feel "revulsion" at abortion, gay marriage, and gun control. The Republicans cynically and skillfully take advantage of that revulsion.
Keith Ferlin (Canada)
Any decent person would feel that way June. Unfortunately there are all lot of people who can afford it, are poor in the humanity column.
Stacy (Manhattan)
How? In a word: racism.

I have an elderly relative who, until 2008 or so, was a life-long Roosevelt Democrat, a strong union supporter, and proud "regular guy." He despised Reagan - saw right through him. But suddenly, he did a big U-turn and transformed into a Fox-watching, rabid hater of all those "takers" out there (despite relying on a generous government pension himself). He loathes Obama and anything to do with Obama. Makes demeaning "jokes" about him. Screams at his grandchildren when they object. He's just one example, but not a unique one, I'm afraid.
PJ (Maine)
What a relief. I'm not a protester but I was prepared to march for this.
Bob (FL)
Scalia demeans the Court. A good mind knows when to exercise restraint. A small, petutulent, even delusional,mind, as in his goofy dissent, gets nasty.
Koyote (The Great Plains)
Yeah, it must be awkward when he passes someone like Ginsburg in the hall, after he has called one of her decisions "quite absurd."
JenD (NJ)
I am now referring to him as Justice Grumpy Cat. It seems fitting in view of his hissy fit from the bench.
Lawrence H Jacobsen (Santa Barbara, California)
While I'm nominally happy to see all the vile invective, harangue, and general vilification of the ACA and its chiefest proponent - President Obama - its really not the best outcome.

The best outcome is clearly a Medicare Part "E" - the "E" standing for
E verybody.

The main reason I am concerned is that the law is too easy (IMO) to circumvent by insurance companies by adjusting their strategies to raise rates, as they are doing incrementally (slowly, slowly) on mine.

I also find the methodology of assessing of income problematic as well.

The ACA definitely, probably, sort of, kind of, I guess, beats a poke in the eye - but single payer is something that still ought to be actively sought by proponents.

Much like the confederate flag - which should NEVER have been allowed, after the southern defeat in 1865, to fly ANYWHERE in the republic - became not only a cause celebre', but a de facto casus belli for racial intolerance and other noxious products of the ante-bellum south, I fear that deriding and repeatedly attacking the ACA will become a perennial object for the wrath of the Right, which seems indefatigable, much like social security, which is STILL, decades upon decades after its passage, STILL under perennial attack by the Right.
jmb1014 (Boise)
Given the tawdry nature of this legal attack on the law, it is frankly insupportable that the Court even accepted the case. As for the three justices who dissented, it is becoming increasingly difficult to take them seriously.
Fairbanks (Costa Mesa, CA)
Which legal reasoning do you find tawdry and unserious? Or do you, like most others, feel that the court should base its decisions on what makes good policy as opposed to what is legal?
Robert Eller (.)
I have no difficulty taking Scalia, Thomas and Alito seriously. Because I never have taken them seriously.
jmb1014 (Boise)
As a lawyer who teaches statutory construction, I can assure you no self-respecting third-year law student would have made this shabby argument. This is purely a matter of outrageous partisan nastiness, like the dozens of meaningless votes in the House to repeal Obamacare. These absurd gestures show how bereft of reason are the conservative attacks on this law.
Chris Lydle (Atlanta)
Great. Does this mean the NYT will cease demonizing the court as being out of control and a menace to society?
Vince (Norwalk, CT)
When the Supreme Court twisted logic to end the nightmare of hanging chads, the NYT screamed its head off about about the practice of determining what the result should be and then finding a rationale, no matter how unconvincing, to get to that decision. This case did exactly the same thing. It's a result the country needed, but Scalia's opinion is correct. The Court should not be rewriting statutes. The majority recognized, however, the consequences in enforcing the law as poorly drafted and, for the third time, rewrote the law to make it enforceable. It might be time though for people who have not read the opinion to read it before bashing the dissent.
Kelly (NYC)
Not even comparable situations. SCOTUS correctly interpreted the intent of the law. End of story.
Richard (<br/>)
Where was Antonin Scalia when the Court ignored the "plain text" of the first clause in the Second Amendment ("A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state ..") in DC v. Heller? This man's selective application of so-called originalism and his conditional adherence to the principles of statutory interpretation is an embarrassment.
emm305 (SC)
Does no serious writer about court issues want to do such a study?
A study of how Scalia picks and chooses when he wants to claim to be an originalist and just lies about it when that's the only option?
A study that exposes his rank hypocrisy?
The writer who points out case by case that neither Scalia nor originalist ideology have any clothes will do his/her country a great service and win fame and fortune.
This game Scalia plays is so obvious to even a non-lawyer, casual court observer such as I, it must be laughed about behind Scalia's back at cocktail parties.
Sarah (Arlington, VA)
Indeed, Richard. After this article stated that the plaintiffs against the ACA based their argument on an intentional misreading of four words, the intentional misreading of another much more important four words - a well regulated militia - came to mind immediately to all those who are able to read a text written in 18th century language, a time when punctuation rules didn't exist.
Chris (NJ)
Leave it to the the NYT Editorial Board to label this challenge exactly what it was, an "ideological farce dressed in a specious legal argument!" This case had no merit from the beginning. It was simply a politically motivated attack that was led by conservative activists and supported by the GOP and 1%ers. It was a tremendous waste of time and money...except of course for the lawyers that collect their fees win or lose. Like many issues, once again the GOP was on the wrong side of the right answer. Please everyone, remember that when it comes time to cast your vote in the next election.
kg in oly wa (Olympia WA)
The argument is over. Now is the time to start discussion on Medicare for all, now that we've decided to provide universal coverage. By far it would be the most responsible and cost-effective method to do so. GOP - are you listening?
Bill (Port Washington, NY)
While I am totally against the ACA because of it's actual unaffordability for those who don't pay a much higher premium for quality coverage and end up being bankrupt paying deductibles and co-pays and out of pocket, I was always in favor of Medicare for all and I'm a conservative through and through and would never ever vote for a Democrat.
DR (New England)
So you're partisan and uninformed. This is not something to be proud of.
Coolhunter (New Jersey)
There is still one big challenge to go. What is that? Whether the law was properly passed in that the revenue parts of the bill did not originate in the House. The slight of hand of letting the Senate originate the revenue could still be a fatal flaw. So, next year SCOTUS will hear that challenge. O, should not feel good, yet.
Cynical Jack (Washington DC)
Sorry, Roberts has already effectively answered that. The mandate was a tax for purposes of Congressional power, but it was not a tax for purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act and was not a "direct" tax for purposes of the Constitution. If you think he will say it is a tax for purposes of the origination clause, you are delusional. Hew will go through whatever intellectual gyrations are necessary to preserve Obamacare, and IMHO, properly so.
memosyne (Maine)
I assume that you are either a billionaire or have health insurance through your employer. But if you lose that job and have to take one without health insurance you will be able to sign up for subsidy from Obamacare. I disagree with your position but wish you good health anyway.
Judy (Vermont)
It is not clear whether the ACA has helped more people than it has harmed by forcing them to buy policies with such high deductibles they can not afford to use them. These people have "coverage" but not access to health care. For them the cost of their premiums, subsidized or not, is simply extortion by the insurance companies facilitated by the government.

Today's decision is good in that it prevented the chaos and catastrophe resulting from withdrawal of subsidies in states using the federal exchange. But a single-payer system, as advocated by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, is the only way to guarantee affordable medical care to everyone.
John Spek (<br/>)
except that single payer - as discovered by VT - is not affordable
dpottman (san jose ca)
yes i agree that single payer is the future of health care but i have to say since its inception i have seen 3 years in a row with the lowest yearly increase to my Kaiser costs. And 2 years ago when i turned 60 i was braced for a huge increase because at 50 i had one. But not at 60. thanks ACA. Out here in Calif it seems to be working well for us so far.
Mary (Pennsylvania)
The business community will get us to single payor, once they start to evaluate their return on investment in premiums to the commercial insurers.
dpottman (san jose ca)
i think everyone now should start refering to the health care act as ACA. Obamacare is a misnomer invented by the GOP and their minions
Sam McFarland (Bowling Green, KY)
Now if we can just resurrect and pass the public option! We could then have a national health insurance program that could serve all Americans, and insurance companies would no longer be the big winners.
Jbugko (Pittsburgh, pa)
(... the real "Obamacare" - and the better plan at that - is the public option.)
Martin (New York)
Yes, I have noticed how aggressively Obama and the Democrats have been pushing the public option. If you think the private insurers are going to give up the monopoly the ACA handed them, I've got a secret trade deal you might want to vote for . . .
Mark Kessinger (<br/>)
If we're going to go that route, we should go whole hog and adopt single-payer -- a far better option even than the public option.
betsy (Oakland)
Chief Justice Roberts just saved the Republicans from themselves!
DR (New England)
Yep and he's probably well aware of that.
DRS (New York, NY)
"This is what government was built to do: provide all Americans with access to quality, affordable and often-lifesaving health care."

Perhaps in your opinion. In mine, health insurance is something the individual saves and buys and is not a government responsibility.
DR (New England)
So what's your solution to all of the ER bills the taxpaying public had to pay for the previously uninsured? Would you just follow the Republican ideal of letting people suffer and die?
Larry Roth (upstate NY)
So, I assume by that you would be perfectly happy if, say another Ebola outbreak occurred, and the government stayed completely out of it to let individuals deal with it on their own?

Or, the government should get out of the retirement business, and abolish Social Security, since it's something individuals should do?

Would you let your house burn down rather than call the fire department, because you'd hate to give up your freedom to act as an individual and prefer to deal with the fire without government interference?

Let me propose a radical idea to you: people as individuals can choose to deal with these matters by making them a government responsibility with their individual votes and individual taxes, resulting in a common good for all.

e pluribus unum
John Harris (Pennsylvania)
Your opinion puts you completely at odds with the thinking of every modern industrial democracy, where people view access to health care as a universal human right.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
The Supreme Court awakens to the reality that stupid rulings have already undermined its credibility and further such rulings will jeopardize its mandate.
Blunt (NY)
This is a wonderful outcome. I am very happy for the country. Anything different coming out of the Supreme Court would have been beyond comprehension. This is the wealthiest country in the world. Not having universal healthcare is shameful. ACA is a step in the right direction at best. By the way, the totally wishy-washy coverage ACA received from the New York Times is not impressive to say the least. You really never came out and shouted strongly, without any reservation that the Republicans have been totally wrong. You equivocated and tried to give a "balanced" view. I am sorry but in this case there is no "balanced" view, as much as there is no "balanced" view when it comes to the criminal acts that are direct functions of a lack of gun control legislation.
John Neal (Greensboro, NC)
Let's see, Michael S's daughter has a job with benefits such as health insurance. That would likely mean she is full-time and making more than minimum wage. At $10 per hour, her pay every four weeks would be $1600. She has to pay $300 a month for health care costs. That leaves $1300 (before taxes), not enough to support herself but better than what she had before. If she quits her job to get medicaid, she does not have to pay the $300 a month, but she has no other income.
Joe From Boston (Massachusetts)
I can just see the cartoon of the three characters in a row and the caption "see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil" redrawn with Scalia as the "see" individual, Alito as the "hear" individual, and Thomas (who almost never speaks during public seesions) as the "speak" individual.

These three are an utter joke, a very sad joke, but a joke nevertheless.
artbco (New York CIty)
Justice Roberts wrote, in King v. Burwell, "the words of a statute must be read in their context and with a view to their place in the overall statutory scheme” – citing Util. Air Regulatory Grp. v. Envtl. Prot. Agency 573 U.S. (2014) for which Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion. In the Util. Air v. EPA case, Scalia, who dissented in King v. Burwell. argued for a “presumption of consistent usage” of a law’s language when encountering an ambiguous term. The arbitrary application of legal principles in this manner seems to me the very definition of "judicial activism."
Listener (US)
A truly cogent point!
artbco (New York CIty)
And to be clear – I mean judicial activism on the part of Scalia, the supposed enemy of “legislating from the bench.”
NN (Menlo Park, CA)
Spot on. Perhaps even better is Roberts citing Scalia's dissent in NFIB v. Sibelius (i.e., Obamacare I): "Without the federal subsidies . . . the exchanges would not operate as Congress intended and may not operate at all." Scalia understands the plain intent of the statute, yet in King v. Burwell he willfully misreads the intent of the statute to arrive at the outcome he wants. The man is an unprincipled partisan hack. And you can bet that, had this been any other statute, it would never have reached the SCOTUS docket. We'll never know, but I'd bet my children that Scalia was one of the four votes to grant certiorari.
Eochaid mac Eirc (Cambridge)
Preposterous?

Is there a single Constitutional lawyer on the editorial board?

Because if not, it seems the editorial board is laboring under the misconception that a journalism degree and lots of opinions qualifies them to speak ex cathedra on what is and is not a reasonable legal argument.

A Court decision is not good or bad, based on whether you *agree* with it.

and I have news for some: premiums, and deductibles, are up. The ACA is a cash cow for big insurers, and great for people who couldn't afford coverage - the middle class is now paying for them, and higher costs for themselves.

This isn't my "opinion" - any fair assessment shows the costs have gone up, and if you believe this is evidence the "cost curve" has been bent down in future based on government projections, you may still believe in Santa.

Read Scalia's dissent. His logic is rock solid.

What we are dealing with is a Supreme Court that has ruled that the Supreme Court is Congress.

No, a bunch of newspaper editors don't get to determine what is legally frivolous, thank goodness, and one wishes people read more about these cases on legal blogs like Volokh, or even the left/statist analysis of lawyers over at Slate.

This is the Supreme Court amending this law for a 3rd time to save it. Those who like it because they think the ACA is wonderful don't grasp that the Supreme Court is not supposed to be amending legislation.

Don't complain when they amend this or another law in a way you do NOT like!
Inchoate But Earnest (Northeast US)
Hmmm. Not sure if serious.

If not, heh, that's pretty funny stuff
ustation (New York City)
ACA is far, far from a perfect law but a step in the right direction. We can only hope that this law will evolve into some form of single payer system like the rest of the world has. But Americans are so slow and dim witted that I fear it will have to take some great shock of some sort to get us there, as is the example of the Confederate flag !!
Robert (Out West)
It may turn out--and I have to say, I learned this from reading today's Times--that the most important part of this ruling is that the Court decided that in this case, the IRS was NOT the agency that would be interpreting this statute regarding subsidies.

What this means, if I understood correctly, is that nope, the next Admin can't come along and change the interpretation: even President Cruz (which heaven forfend) would be stuck with it.
Leigh (Qc)
Here's to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness! Finally!
John (Nys)
What is the rule of law and where did it go?
According to Johnathan Gruber's description of the law, denying subsidies to residents of states that did not create exchanges was a deliberate. "If You're A State And You Don't Set Up An Exchange, That Means Your Citizens Don't Get Their Tax Credits" (from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelcannon/2014/07/25/obamacare-architect... ). This is also reflected in the language of the law.

It sounds like the Supreme Court assumes the congress did not read the words of the law that denied the subsidies, and also did not understand the intent to deny subsidies expressed by Jonathan Gruber, and instead ruled based on Congresss's misunderstanding of the law.

Are they saying that congress voted on the law based on political conversations about what it meant ignoring the words and intent?

What is the meaning of law if it can not be nailed done by language and explained intent that are both consistent?

Perhaps we now have SCOTUS care. But this happens all the time. The 14th Amendment which was about protecting former slaves is taken to create anchor baby concept, an abortion right, and perhaps a future right to gay marriage based on equal protection. While I support gay marriage, I in no way believe those who ratified the 14th Amendment would have said it it legalized gay marriage, abortion, and anchor babies.

John
ClassWarfare (OH)
But this court has been dubbed "right-wing" by our editors, columnists and readers on too many occasions? Any contrition?
DR (New England)
Why? It is an idea that came from the right. Liberals aren't so partisan that they won't recognize the merits of something merely because of politics.

It's not the single payer system we need but it's a start.
ClassWarfare (OH)
Liberals are as partisan as conservatives. The day both extremes realize that both are wrong, we can make progress. The truth usually lies in the middle.
Reuven K (New York)
The blatantly political votes by Scalia, Alito, and Thomas should scare us all!
Paul (Long island)
Let's hope this is the end of these petty legal nuisance cases and that Obamacare will now be improved to cover all the people as is the case in all major Western nations. To start, Republican Southern governors and their regressive and oppressive legislatures should not only take their racist flags down, but also raise up the health of their poor, largely minority communities by accepting the free government Medicaid expansion that is part of Obamacare. The continued denial of health care is just as racist in its intent and its lethal effects as waving the Confederate battle flag as a reminder of the blatant and rabid racism it represents and the wanton destruction of human life that it has, and still, encourages.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
There is no country on Earth where it is easier to bring nuisance lawsuits before indulgent jurists with elections to win.
Evelyne Haendel (Belgium)
From a distant little country ... Paul, this is what I would have said would my English vocabulary allowed it! Yes, lets hope this petty legal nuisance cases cease and that coverage will be given to all people!
And how true it is that the continued denial of health care is racist!
consumer_dave (Falls Church, VA)
Thank you for specifically mentioning libertarians in your reporting of those who are opposed to the government attempting to make health care accessible to Americans. Libertarians need to be identified as part of the contingent of ideologically motivated players who oppose progress any time the government is involved. They are part of the problem rather than the solution.
T-bone (California)
If the goal is “Quality, affordable health care for all Americans," then the solution can only be single payer supplemented by optional private plans.

This goal will NOT be achieved by (per Justice Roberts) "improving health care _markets_." There is no such thing as a real market in health insurance. In fact, health insurance is a public good that carries a net social cost under any scenario.

The only way to improve our profit-driven health insurance system is to scrap it and start over.

Eliminate the notion that health insurance is a market good. There are no profits to be had without cherry-picking healthy people and dumping, exploiting or overcharging sick people.
Viveka (East Lansing)
I think the SC saved the field of potential Republican presidential candidates from taking a stance that might have backfired on them.
Bob Sauter (Sanga Barbara, Ca)
This is better than what we had. I hope that someday we will have a single payee system, similar to Medicare, that would insure all Americans and include the Veterans Administration. We would have better care and save a lot of money.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
Medicare has gotten just as Balkanized as Obamacare. Every state now has its own set of supplemental plans from the same sets of insurance companies operating under the ACA.
Jake (Kansas)
Correct. Refusing steps towards improvement is absurd.

It would be like saying I refuse to use my car because it's not as efficient as a teleporter. Since I now refuse to accept any faster means of travel other than the best and most efficient, the car in this example, my only option is walking everywhere. At least until that teleporter is available in the future.
Tony (New York)
Maybe it is time for The Times to stop taking every opportunity to trash the Supreme Court and its majority. As has been reported in The Times, based on factual and legal analysis, this term of the Supreme Court may be the most liberal term the Supreme Court has had since 1969. The Times Editorial staff may not agree with every decision reached by the Supreme Court (which may not be surprising since The Times is known as a journalistic endeavor, not a legal endeavor), but the use of hyperbolic, political, and extremist language should be beneath the dignity of The Times. As The Times reports, the Roberts Court has again voted to save ObamaCare, which does not seem to be the actions of a radical, extremist, ultraconservative body. How many times does the Roberts Court have to vote in a manner consistent with The Times' views in order for The Times to refer to the Supreme Court with a modicum of respect?
Steve Bolger (New York City)
Reality is liberal. Hanging on to false beliefs is without merit.
rugz (L.A.)
Hyperbolic, political, and extremist language should also be beneath the dignity of Supreme Court justices; but unfortunately, it's not.
Annie (Pittsburgh)
How many times will the Roberts Court vote in a fashion that demonstrates that the court, in its entirety, is worthy of respect?
Upwind (Chesapeake, VA)
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union NOW promote the general Welfare by providing affordable health care to all. It is comforting to know that a majority of SCOTUS judges understand the preamble to our Constitution.
Charles Michener (Cleveland, OH)
It is worth reading Justice Scalia's scathing dissent for the sheer anger that simmers underneath his stubbornly narrow reading of those four troublesome words in the Affordable Care Act. It brings to mind something Benjamin Franklin once said: "Anger is not without a reason, but seldom with a good one." Here is a powerful argument for SCOTUS term limits.
Northern Irishman in the US (Washington, DC)
The sheer spluttering over the top ranting by the arrogant and egomaniacal Scalia shows what contempt he has for his colleagues. The highly political nature of his judgments, is stark indeed in this dissent and he shows himself up with his exagerrations and hyperbole and tendentious commentary, using with a plethora of words like "absurd", "unheard of," "bizarre,"and more. Scalia, the "strict constructionist," who is only that when it suits him and who brings his own reactionary views into legal opinions...as he did in the Florida hanging chad mess which landed up with Geo W Bush. What do you expect from a pig but a grunt.....
DR (San Francisco, California)
I agree, but instead of term limits, I'd impose a mandatory retirement age, of say, 72. Term limits can have the effect of preventing justices from becoming accomplished at their job and in their role. Mandatory retirement would speed turnover but still allow a justice to spend 20 years or so on the bench--a win/win.
brainiac (Midwest)
disagreement with a justice's point of view or mean spirited nature is not the reason for term limits. There needs to be a better rationale. Alternatively if it was someone you agreed with then you would be disappointed if there were term limits. Your point about Scalia's anger is an important one - it has remained a constant; rarely he has shown any sign of legal equipoise.
The Buddy (Astoria, NY)
Wow, I knew Scalia would be irritated, but I didn't realize his dissent would be so over the top. He does little to keep up appearances as a impartial jurist.
Dan (Colorado)
It's nice to see that the Court refrained this time from being the legislative branch.
mikecody (Buffalo NY)
What would be nice to see would be if the legislative branch would begin being the legislative branch, and read what they vote on before voting on it.
NYTReader (Pittsburgh)
After the Supreme Court Decision, I encourage republicans to either let it go or work to add sincere improvements.

We have so many pressing problems, Obamacare is resolved.

Lets work together to rebuild America, for everyone's benefit.
Rick Gage (mt dora)
I don't pretend to know the law..and now, Justices Alito, Scalia and Thomas can stop pretending as well.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
The Three Stooges say that God is calling on them to get government out of the way of divine intervention. The are responding to a "higher power"
Penn (Wausau WI)
Not a perfect law or system, I am sure, but this is fantastic news fro millions. Now we ought to work to make it better, not to tear it down.
MAKSQUIBS (NYC)
Preposterous, blatantly political, a specious legal argument . . . perfect descriptions for Thomas, Scalia & Alito who labeled it quite absurd.
chas holman (USA)
'Supreme Court Saves Obamacare Again'

Ha ha.. What yellow journalism.

The Supreme Court agreed, more than once, that the ACA was, and HAS BEEN Legal.
A more APT headline would be 'After spending millions and wasting countless energy and man-hours on one frivolous pursuit after another, GOP still loses again in yet another court case'.
Christine McMorrow (Waltham, MA)
"But of course it was the justices’ choice to hear challenges to the law in 2012 and this term, even though both were legally frivolous."

A lot of time and money has been wasted on challenges to the ACA. I applaud those members of SCOTUS who saw the forest through the trees, and who set aside partisanship to look at the overall intent, design, and results of this law.

While I would hope the ACA could eventually transition to a national health insurance program, that would eliminate even more duplications and inconsistencies in coverage across all age groups, the fact that the ACA stands is a blessing. A blessing for those impoverished Americans who have had to forego basic care because of access and cost.

We have in this country a pervasive mean streak of activists would continue to pull up the ladder once they themselves have climbed it. We have lost any spirit of collective rights, goods, and dignities. As we descend further into haves and have-nots, the fact so many wanted to deny access to affordable healthcare--the right to live as disease-free as possible in our golden age of medicine--always struck me as the epitome of indecency.

Let's set aside the fact that early interventions save the US health system costs in the long run. Let's set aside the question of who "deserves" care.
Fortunately a majority of the court found the scope and spirit of this law something beneficial to uphold, and for that I'm grateful.
Lucia (LV)
I was waiting to exhale, I didn't understand why the court took the case in the first place, it seemed like a bad sign to me. I wonder about the people that dedicated so much energy to destroy Obamacare, or Romneycare... People that have health insurance are more productive people, because they can take care of health problems, before they become too serious and expensive, to deal with. Workers that don't make much money, or not enough money will better off. The Country will be better off.
HealedByGod (San Diego)
People that have health insurance are more productive? Really? Then why is it that ER visits have actually gone up under Obama Care then gone down as Obama said they would. So basically you're saying that undocumented illegals or those who lost their insurance are less productive? Do you have a study to prove that or just your inherent bias? So who takes care of the serious problems of the uninsured? You?
I was denied Obama Care so tell me how I am better off. What a pathetic comment
Katmandu (Princeton)
The Court took the case because their was a split in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals as to what the defined word "states" means. The ACA defines "states" to mean just the states (and not the federal government). One one panel of the 4th Circuit held that the term "states" - again, as expressly defined in the ACA - means just the "states." At or about the same time, another panel of the 4th Circuit held that the term "states" means, contrary to the express definition used by Congress, "the states AND the federal government."

The difference between the meaning of the term amounts to billions of dollars in tax subsidies affecting millions of insureds (or potential insureds). While I disagree with the majority opinion, it was a case that absolutely need SCOTUS to resolve.
david g sutliff (st. joseph, mi)
With this decision, many states may opt to pass their exchanges back to the Federal Government, as the Federal systems seem to work better and at a lower cost. That would make the Federal government the principal handler of health insurance. And with that the case, isn't it time to slowly work the parasitic health insurance companies out of the system? Really, what do they do for their money?
Chris Lydle (Atlanta)
"What do they do for their money"?

What a vapid comment. Of course, since it comes from a strident liberal position, it is a NYT Pick. You can bet that any rebuttal that actually provided a civil and detailed explanation of what insurance companies do would not make it past the moderators.
mikecody (Buffalo NY)
I signed up via the NY State exchange, and it was a quick and easy process, unlike the stories I have read of those who got a run around in the Federal system. I would like to see why you believe the Federal system works better.
John Spek (<br/>)
"what do they do for their money?"

Deny less claims per 1000 than Medicare does, cover people that medicaid and Medicare can not manage
terry brady (new jersey)
Terrific EB analysis and report, and all around insightful news coverage from the New York Times today. Interesting period that we live, and the "three men in a tub" from SCOTUS far right never cease to entertain. The Obama legacy seems assured and the GOP (baker's dozen) appear more out-of-tune than anyone might have possibly imagined last year.
ScottW (Chapel Hill, NC)
I hope the photo showing a sign stating that the, "ACA is here to stay," is not true. The ACA will not provide affordable, accessible healthcare to all Americans.

Only single payer will do the trick. Until then we are just a country that gives some of its citizens help paying for private health insurance that has historically been a very bad idea for providing access to healthcare.
Robert Demko (Crestone Colorado)
Someday, Medicare for all that avoids all this brou ha ha and the need to suck up to and support insurance companies will be implemented. SCOIS in this ruling actually supports the intent of the ACA which is better health care for all and someday we might really achieve it provided the much more effective Medicare System is offered to all.
John LeBaron (MA)
What a monumental waste of time and treasure this woeful King v. Burwell case has produced. I'm glad that the Supreme Court reviewed it because it puts this typographical silliness to rest. We can safely predict, however, that the silliness is far from over and that the goblins of justice will squander additional bundles of cash on it.

If there's any doubt about the GOP drive to end the successful and humane ACA by a thousand superfluous cuts, perform a search on Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Here's one result.

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsmax-Tv/Marsha-Blackburn-Obamacare-repeal-Heal...
ernieh1 (Queens, NY)
There is another group of people celebrating this decision: the health insurance companies, since their share of the pie has enlarged significantly by Obamacare.

People still do not understand that the government is not in the health insurance business, but is there to help establish a market for insurance, and to regulate it, hopefully, for the good of the whole population.

This latter part is what drives conservatives crazy, because they think people who cannot afford insurance only have themselves to blame. Even if that were true, is it the American Way to let them die?
Steve Bolger (New York City)
As if the insurance companies are not an interlocked directorship of self-interested CEOs.
rs (california)
According to the current Republican party, yes.
al miller (california)
I disagree with the times that the SCOTUS should not have agreed to review the case. While it did create some high level of anxiety for many Americans who afraid they might lose their healthcare, it was important for the COURT to speak out (again) and with a strong voice, that the ACA is legal, Constitutional and here to stay. Only by letting the right wing voice their frustrations no matter how ideologically driven, illogical and self-serving.

Will the GOP accept the ruling. No! of course not but if all legal recourse is exhausted, it will give them the poltical cover with respect to their unhinged base voters to move forward and actually start doing what they should have been doing already for the past several years - enhancing, reforming, improving etc the ACA.

We know that a program this large and this complex is not perfect. Obama never claimed that it would be. But the majority of Americans now know it is a step in the right direction. It represents expanded freedom - the freedom to live a healthy life with access to healthcare for those that choose to do so. Much work remains to be done. We need to relentllessly squeeze costs out of the national program. There must be greater accountability for both patients and care providers. Finally we need to promote good outcomes as a standard for good care rather than good, expansive, and expensive treatments.

As with a treating a patient, we now must start looking at root causes rather than just treating symptoms.
Chip (USA)
In a society whose culture is ever increasingly grounded in the gratification of "objects of desire" it is hardly surprising that those who want the A.C.A. will ardently approve of the Court's decision.

But "outcome determination" -- the process of making the law "say" what it needs to say to achieve a desired outcome -- has the unfortunate effect of destroying "the plain meaning of words." This destruction, the Greek historian, Thucydides noted, accompanies all "revolutions."

Scalia was right. The Act uses the phrase "...established by the State" at least seven times. Those words do not mean "established by the State or by the Federal Government." In what remains a federal system, the use or non-use of the word "State" is not a stylistic choice; but has always had recognized and significant implications.

In trumpetting a "non-tax tax" and now a "federal-state State" Justice Roberts has established himself as the High Paladin of Outcome Determination. By the same token, the Supreme Court has reduced itself to a Queen of Hearts. Farewell predictable English.

It is appropriate to end with the observation that the Act does NOT "provide all Americans with access to quality, affordable and often lifesaving HEALTH CARE." The Act does not provide a system of PUBLIC health. It provides for affordable health care INSURANCE. The two do not mean the same thing as much as one might hope that they do.
Jake (Kansas)
All your bluster is hot air and shallow diatribe.

You clearly know nothing with respect to judicial review and legislative analysis.
James Millner (Richmond, VA)
While I disagree with most of your comment, your last point is a good one and one which I had not considered. The ACA does not provide Americans with healthcare--it provides them with ACCESS to healthcare, which in this country is largely controlled by for-profit insurance companies. As such, the ACA is not "government-run healthcare" as many of its critics claim. It is merely a set of regulations and subsidies to help people who can't afford insurance at free-market rates obtain it.

Medicare, or government-run health insurance is, perhaps, a better model on which the ACA should have been built. Medicare, while costly, is incredibly efficient and effective. With the ACA, the government essentially acts as a broker between consumers and private insurers. With Medicare, there is no middle man. Providers agree to limits on costs and consumers aren't subject to the whims of companies that are beholden to shareholders first and patients second.
Mary (Wisconsin)
Interpreting "established by the State" in the way that Scalia (and Chip) recommend reminds me of the old story about the young man who killed both his parents, then pleaded for the court's mercy because he was an orphan. The states declining to establish health care exchanges did so largely or wholly because of opposition to the ACA on the parts of their Republican governors, and/or Republican-controlled legislatures. To rule that this blatant attempt at weakening and subverting the law should now remove million of citizens from the coverage to which they have become accustomed would have been a very sad day in the history of the Supreme Court. It also would only have encouraged similar politically-motivated mischief in the future.

The Court made the right decision.
Jim Rapp (Eau Claire, WI)
In this case a six to three decision is tantamount to a unanimous decision since the three who dissented had their minds made up before the challenge came to them to consider the evidence.

I suppose there is no way to remove those three grumpy old men from the court. Thank God there are a couple of conservative justices who still use their brains when considering cases brought before them.
Jake (Kansas)
I may not always agree with Roberts and Kennedy with respect to their voting records on a number of cases brought before the court, but I at least respect them as having the integrity to set aside the coloring division of party politics to thoughtfully weigh the facts and arguments before them instead of deciding down the line with partisan entrenched positions.
Annie (Pittsburgh)
"Grumpy old men" is a far too cutesy a description for these partisan hacks who have gained a seat on the Supreme Court.
GHHBCAST (CT)
Seems that Justice Scalia is a poor loser! Scotuscare! He is certainly not above politics either.
Annie (Pittsburgh)
He's ALL about politics. That has been apparent since the beginning. He is a disgrace to the Court and to the country, but unfortunately he is blind, solidly cut off from reality by his wall of bedrock ideological beliefs, to himself and to just how shameful his term on the Supreme Court has been.
Bruce Rozenblit (Kansas City)
The ruling should have been 9-0 in favor of the government. Actually, the case never should have gotten past the first judge's desk it landed on.

The arguments presented by the three dissenting judges are ludicrous. They aren't even arguments. They reveal that these three judges have no business sitting on highest court in the land. They are an embarrassment to the Court.

Any judge's primary responsibility is to the law, not to politics.

Justice cannot ever be blind when those that pass judgement see the world through pinhole glasses.
M.M. (Austin, TX)
Hillary should vow to defend and improve the ACA as her top priority starting in January, 2017. She should point out to the fact that she tried in 1993 and that experience qualifies her more than anyone to withstand the barrage of attacks that surely will ensue after this decision by the Supreme Court.
stilluf (new jersey)
I'm surprised that you didn't at least make mention of Chief Justice Robert's role in saving Obamacare both times. In decisions you don't like or agree with, you unhesitatingly lambast him as a "right-wing" partisan player. I think it's time for the Times to admit that this caricature is as unfair as it is inaccurate, and start to acknowledge him as he described his role at his confirmation hearings; an impartial umpire who calls 'em like he sees 'em.
artbco (New York CIty)
And you're saying this on the basis of two decisions?
Randy (Boulder)
Sorry, but Roberts' votes re: Citizens United, McCutchen, Affirmative Action, Voting Rights and Hobby Lobby are too far right to label him anything other than as a conservative, right-leaning Justice.

Roberts' position as Chief Justice and steward of the court's legacy is what has led him to support ACA. Do you think he wants to be the guy who throws 7 million people off of healthcare?

Maybe when/if he votes against gay marriage tomorrow, you'll see him for what he is...
rs (california)
Although another way of looking at this is that it is a gift to the insurance companies. And Roberts always supports corporations - just in this case, his decision happens to also be good for the people.
Patrick, aka Y.B.Normal (Long Island NY)
You assume that the Supreme Court is "Supreme" in deciding government policy having the last word. In fact, all three branches of Government are equal in power. Congress can repeal the law and a President can institute executive orders. Gridlock might ensue, but that is our Constitution's intent. That's means fewer Freedom robbing laws.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
Gridlock is not the intent of checks and balances, which have been billed as essential to keep all the players honest in the negotiation and practice of public policy.

Freedom is the power to negotiate contracts equitably, but every contract trades obligations for liberties.
Annie (Pittsburgh)
Patrick - Just what is the point you're trying to make? The Supreme Court decided on a legal challenge from citizens to a bill passed by Congress and signed by the President. All the Supreme Court decision does is tell us that the law that is in effect NOW passes Constitutional muster and cannot be overturned on the basis of the complaint lodged by the plaintiffs. So, it is only the "last word" on this specific challenge to this specific law. There is nothing in the Supreme Court decision that prevents Congress and the President from enacting and signing a different law relating to the same subject. If you believe people should have the "freedom" to be denied health care on the basis of their income or pre-existing conditions, then start lobbying your members of Congress to pass something different. Good luck with your interpretation of what "freedom" is.
Judy Creecy (Germantown, NY)
So much for the Ted Cruz "Obamacare is a trainwreck" theory. When will the Republicans ever respond to the needs of the people rather than the whims of the Koch brothers?
Bob (in Boston)
What is stunning is that the Court has 3 justices who are willing to be activist shills for the most reactionary elements of the far right. It's time to name them what they are: "The Three Stooges."
Michael (Richmond, VA)
"...the majority of justices managed to stay above the politics of the issue and do their job."

We, as Americans can expect nothing less. Shame on the 3 justices who would have followed the political scent and destroyed the lives of millions.
barbara8101 (Philadelphia)
This is a great decision. No civilized country, a category to which we all like to think the United States belongs, can fail to provide health care to all its citizens. I am thrilled that the Supreme Court rose above the hypocritical and spurious efforts of those who want the poor to die and upheld this important law.

Incidentally, many have talked about the upheaval likely if the Supreme Court rules against the right to same-sex marriage. Purely in terms of upheaval, a decision the wrong way in this case would have left a decision against same-sex marriage rights in the dust. Imagine telling the millions who depend on the ACA for health care that they are once again on their own. . . .

This entire problem has its roots in politics, in the form of the purely political stance that many governors have taken in refusing to establish state ACA programs. The attacks on the law also have political roots. It is wonderful that millions of our citizens have not been forced to suffer in the name of the political grandstanding to which this law has been subjected, deaths that would have been caused by those who would rather see their fellow Americans die than allow our president to succeed at anything.
Bob Burns (Oregon's Willamette Valley)
Scalia wrote:
“We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”

Gee, what a great piece of legal writing.
Burghound (Oakland, CA)
He votes to kill it and then wants to take credit for it. What a guy!
Ann (California)
This from the man who enjoys life-time gold-plated health insurance paid for by us; American taxpayers!
K Yates (CT)
Dear President Obama, if nothing else, when all is said and done you can say: I set the country on its first step toward universal health care for all.
DR (New England)
There's also that little matter of leading us out of the great recession.
Andrew Mitchell (Seattle)
LBJ did, with Medicare and Medicaid accounting for 40% of health care.
Obamacare added another 10%. We still need Medicare for all to cover the !0% still without "insurance".
Mike Sands (Philly)
You think Obamacare was the first step? Have you never heard of Medicare and Medicaid?
Roy (Fort Worth)
Wait til the same 6-3 majority upholds marriage equality tomorrow. Heads will be busting open like pumpkins all over.
Technic Ally (Toronto)
I needed scotuscare once, and I found a helpful powder at the pharmacy.
Look Ahead (WA)
I'd suggest a different headline. How about:

"Supreme Court fails GOP in bid for further health care inequality"

Having already blocked the expansion of Medicaid for the poorest Americans in some states, the SCOTUS disappoints the GOP by missing an opportunity to create even more distortion in health care, by denying subsidies for certain citizens by virtue of state residence, already funded by other citizens of the same states.

That anyone could support such an outcome is beyond comprehension.
c harris (Rock Hill SC)
Clearly the affordable care act is a Republican inspired law although the Democrats passed it. It lowered the price to consumers and generally protected them from the possibility of medical bankruptcy. Let it be clear the Health Insurance Companies are the big winners as the US gov't props up their prices much higher than the market by itself would bear.
John (Indianapolis)
It did not lower the price to consumers. It has redistributed funds from the middle class purchasers of individual policies to the lower income class. The middle class purchaser is paying more for their policy and getting less (higher deductibles). A great deal for the middle class. NOT.
ClassWarfare (OH)
The prices have been raised for a significant proportion and will continue to rise as the insurance companies consolidate. Those receiving bis subsidies and Medicaid have benefited.
Brad S. (Brooklyn)
True, but better than nothing.
Michael S (Wappingers Falls, NY)
My daughter has a chronic illness that requires very expensive treatments. When she first got out of school Medicaid paid 100% of the cost; now that she has a job with group health insurance she has a $300 a month co-pay. Unless she can get financial help from the drug manufacturer's assistance program she is going to have to quit her job and limit her earnings in order to qualify for Medicaid.

Any health care system that incentivizes un or underemployment is wrong. So is the fact that Medicaid offers better coverage than many individual policies. These anomalies result from the workings of the private insurance industry and the mandated coverage. There must be a better way.
Atlant (New Hampshire)
Single Payer Healthcare, as implemented in all of the civilized countries of the world, is of course the better way that you're seeking.
Miriam (Raleigh)
Actually, no it doesn't. Your state mandates the income level that medicaid will cover. The employer mandates what the out of pocket will be. Its always been that way. It has become abundantly clear the more ruby red a states chooses to be, the income level eligible for medicaid is lowered and than lowered again so that state has to do nothing for peole like your "daughter". The empoyers insurance all have out of pocket caps, some are astronomically high because that is what that empoyers cares about employees, or the employ chooses the cheapest plan possible and rolls the dice. Without ACA, you "duaghter" could not get coverage, becuase well, no on would have to cover her
Robert (Out West)
Quitting one's job over $300 a month is a very, very poor decision. Among other things, Medicaid won't make the co-pays go away.
Carolyn Egeli (Valley Lee, Md)
We wouldn't want to disappoint those insurance companies!
David Henry (Walden Pond.)
What's your point? Universal coverage which would take the insurance companies out of the mix was NEVER considered by anyone. You can't complain as if this is a reason for this decision.
Bill (Burke, Virginia)
Not to speak of people with pre-existing conditions who couldn't get coverage before the law was enacted, people otherwise excluded from anything but emergency medical care by poverty, hospitals that previous had to provide emergency care without charge for indigent patients, . . .
Lawyer/DJ (Planet Earth)
SCOTUS upheld the law on a stare decisis basis. It has nothing to do with insurance companies.
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