In a 6-3 vote on June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld parts of the Affordable Care Act that authorized federal tax credits not only for persons who lived in states with health care exchanges, but also states with federal exchanges.
This ruling means that residents in states without insurance exchanges — such as Kansas — will still receive subsidies to pay for health insurance.
The high court’s decision was hailed by David Setchel, president and chief operating officer at St. Francis Health Center in Topeka.
“This is good news for St. Francis, our associates and our patients,” said Setchel. “This means that more than six million people in 34 states will continue to have access to health insurance subsidies, including our patients in Kansas. Catholic health care providers and Catholic hospitals are called upon to serve in accordance with Catholic social teaching and values — and that means we must be advocates for everyone, particularly the poor and other vulnerable populations. Both patients and providers benefit from this ruling and the certainty it provides going forward.”
Setchel said that the Affordable Care Act was a significant step toward expanding access to health insurance coverage and improving delivery of health care services, but more had to be done.
“We will continue to support further efforts to ensure that health insurance exchanges, Medicaid coverage expansion and insurance reforms achieve the promise of coverage and high-quality integrated care for the underserved and vulnerable populations,” said Setchel.
Despite the benefits patients and hospitals receive from the Affordable Care Act’s federal subsidies for health insurance, other parts of the law remain problematic. The Catholic Church objects to those parts of the law that force employers to provide free abortifacients, sterilization and contraceptives, and have inadequate religious liberty and conscience protections.