Over the past several years, healthcare policy has been a major national issue sparking debates at every level. President Barack Obama made healthcare reform a signature issue of his presidency and signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as the ACA, in 2010. In broad terms the ACA implemented several changes to the health insurance market, and included an individual mandate requiring all Americans to have insurance coverage and an employer mandate requiring most employers to provide health insurance to employees.
The ACA has been politically controversial from the very beginning. Since 2010, the ACA has faced political, logistical, and legal challenges. Two of the most significant challenges came in the Supreme Court cases of the National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius and, more recently, King v. Burwell. The Court’s decisions in both cases had implications at KSB Hospital and in hospitals across the United States.
The first case, NFIB v. Sebelius, was argued before the court in 2012 and was based on the argument of whether enforcement of the individual mandate was within the power of Congress to levy taxes. The Supreme Court upheld the ACA in that key question.
The second case, King v. Burwell, was argued before the court earlier this summer. In its recently announced decision, the Court again upheld the ACA. In this case the central question was whether or not subsidies to individuals who purchase their own insurance coverage could be lawfully paid in all states, or just in those states who had established their own health insurance marketplace.
The impact of King v. Burwell at KSB is that our patients who bought insurance through the healthcare.gov website and received a subsidy to help pay for it will continue to receive that subsidy and maintain insurance coverage. The ruling was especially important in Illinois because Illinois was one of the states who did not establish its own marketplace, instead choosing to refer citizens to the federal government’s website of healthcare.gov
While these and other government actions have significant impacts on healthcare and hospitals like KSB, our core mission of serving the healthcare needs of our community has not changed since our founding in 1897.