Obamacare's health insurance subsidies will live, thanks to the Supreme Court.
The High Court has ruled 6-3 in favor of the administration to uphold the subsidies in Obamacare's federal exchanges. The case challenged the administration's decision, through the Internal Revenue Service, to allow subsidies in the 36 exchanges run by the federal government under the law.
The challengers argued that the plain text of the law, which states that subsidies are only available in an exchange "established by a State," defining "State" to mean the 50 states or the District of Columbia, prohibited subsidies in the federal exchanges. The administration argued that the IRS rule allowing those subsidies was consistent with the overall structure of the law, and with congressional intent.
Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the administration's position, saying that although the health law contains "more than a few examples of inartful drafting," the Court nevertheless believes that the relevant section of the law "can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress's plan, and that is the reading we adopt." The complete ruling can be read here.
Basically, the Supreme Court, decided they'd rather squint at the law and look at its general shape rather than bother too much with the plain meaning of the relevant text.
This is a major victory fo the administration and backers of the health law, whose decision to ignore the plain text of the law has been blessed by the Court. It's also a big loss for critics of Obamacare, who hoped to see the law's implementation restrained by its legislative text, and for straightforward interpretation of congressional statute.
What it means is that the crazy array of post-King scenarios that many had speculated about over the last few months will never come to pass. Obamacare stays the same, in terms of both policy and politics. It's a ruling for the status quo.
Reason will have much more on this throughout the day.