In June 2015, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, which provides health care insurance subsidies for lower income individuals, reports the New York Times. The court upheld the distribution of subsidies to individuals who purchase health insurance through a marketplace established by the federal government.
The central issue in the case was whether the marketplace for obtaining health insurance and subsidies must be created by the state, not the federal government. A specific phrase in the law was under review. The law states that subsidies are available for individuals to purchase health insurance through an insurance exchange established by each state, according to the New York Times. The plaintiffs in the case argued that the plain meaning of the phrase means the federal government violated the law by providing subsidies to individuals who purchased insurance through the federal marketplace.
In the majority opinion of the court, Chief Justice Roberts explained that the phrase must be interpreted as a part of the larger content and structure of the law. The court was concerned that rejecting these subsidies would destabilize insurance markets in states that did not already establish their own marketplace, says the New York Times. The court feared that many healthy individuals would be unable afford insurance if the law was repealed, leaving insurance companies with a sicker, more expensive pool of customers. The effect would be increased insurance costs across the country.