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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act in Latest Legal Challenge

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For the second time in three years, the U.S. Supreme Court today struck down a major legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, ruling that consumers who purchase health insurance on healthcare.gov are eligible for subsidies to offset their costs.

The ruling is a major victory for President Obama and supporters of the Affordable Care Act. “The Affordable Court Act is here to stay,” the president said in a statement today. “This law is now helping tens of millions of Americans and they’ve told me it’s changed lives for the better. This law is working and it’s going to keep doing just that.”

The National Council applauded the Court’s decision, noting that the ruling prevents 6.4 million Americans from losing access to coverage that includes important mental health and addiction parity protections. National Council President and CEO Linda Rosenberg praised the ACA’s insurance exchanges for ensuring consumers can access affordable, quality care for both physical and mental health problems. “Parity has ushered in a new era for behavioral health care,” she said. “The vision of parity is a simple one: that all individuals will be able to access the services they need, when they need them.”

At issue in King v. Burwell was the legality of federal financial assistance for consumers who purchase health insurance in states that opted not to set up their own health insurance exchanges. The case targeted a technical inconsistency in the law which, the plaintiffs argued, made subsidies unavailable to consumers using the federally-run marketplace. Health policy experts widely agreed that if the subsidies were to fall, the federal exchange would enter a “death spiral” that could lead to its demise, leaving 6.4 million consumers without access to affordable coverage.