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Obamacare Ruling: “Positive Impact” for CT Consumers

Health care advocate Frances Padilla says many Connecticut consumers are saving thousands of dollars a month on their insurance premiums as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court Affordable Care Act decision. Courtesy: Rosana Garcia.
Health care advocate Frances Padilla says many Connecticut consumers are saving thousands of dollars a month on their insurance premiums as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court Affordable Care Act decision. Courtesy: Rosana Garcia.
June 26, 2015

HARTFORD, Conn. - The Supreme Court decision upholding federal subsidies for the Affordable Care Act has major implications for consumers, according to local advocates.

Frances Padilla, president of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, applauded the logic behind the ruling and also the impact it will have on local pocketbooks. Health-insurance rates in the state already are among the highest in the nation, she said, adding that for local consumers who access health care on a regular basis, a negative ruling could have meant the difference between paying their mortgage and affording health coverage.

"A decision by the Supreme Court in the other direction would have made insurance costs in Connecticut even higher," she said. "Surely it could have meant thousands of dollars for individual consumers."

By a 6-3 vote, the high court affirmed an Internal Revenue Service ruling that determined that subsidies should be available not just in states that set up their own exchanges but also available through the federal government's exchange.

GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was among those opposed to the decision; he labeled the ruling an "out-of-control act of judicial tyranny."

Padilla said the issue of access to health care never really was in play in the case before the Supreme Court in states such as Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, because each has set up a state exchange. She said the bigger sigh of relief on that score is being felt in Northern New England.

"But (for) states like New Hampshire and Maine, where their residents benefit from the federal subsidies," she said, "the good news is that their residents, who are in fact benefiting, are going to be able to continue to benefit."

Padilla said the ruling is on the right side of history and sends a clear message that the United States won't return to a day where people won't have access to health insurance because they can't afford it.

The high court's decision is online at supremecourt.gov.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT