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Reactions to King v. Burwell: Healthcare leaders back ruling

Most organizations support the 6-3 vote to preserve federal subsidies.

King v. Burwell debate photo from Twitter user <a href="https://twitter.com/SEIU/status/573125764117368832">SEIU</a>.King v. Burwell debate photo from Twitter user SEIU.

Healthcare organization leaders, lawyers and other industry insiders have begun issuing statements about Thursday's King v. Burwell ruling which saved subsidies for federal exchange plans, with most backing the court's decisions. Here are several from notable people and organizations:

[Also: Supreme court upholds Obamacare subsidies]

Sylvia M. Burwell, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

“I hope that this positive decision will do what the American people want us to do -- focus on the substance and turn to building on the progress we have made. They want us to move forward to provide more Americans with affordable access to quality coverage and create a health care system that improves the quality of care and spends our dollars more wisely.”

Bill Bithoney, Lead, BDO Center for Healthcare Excellence & Innovation

“Watch for a considerable jump in merger and acquisition activity now that the uncertainty has been removed. Private equity funds and other investors had been hesitant to move forward in the recent period of uncertainty. Now the pressure valve has been released, we expect a big jump in deal flow in the third and fourth quarter, independent of exchange status.”

Douglas Hoey, CEO,  National Community Pharmacists Association

“Community pharmacists are critical front-line providers of care to many Americans, particularly those in underserved rural and inner-city areas. Every day they help patients, with or without insurance, obtain the prescription drugs or other care that they need. While the political debate over U.S. health care will continue, today’s ruling provides a degree of clarity for community pharmacists as they continue to help patients navigate a complicated health care system.”

Jodi M. Sturgeon, President, Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute

“This decision ensures that hundreds of thousands of direct-care workers, living in states that have federally run exchanges, will continue to have access to affordable health coverage. Direct-care workers -- nursing assistants, home health aides, and personal care aides -- provide vital health care and support services to millions of elders and people with disabilities. This workforce -- mostly female and predominantly women of color -- has historically struggled to access affordable health coverage. Prior to the expansion of coverage under the ACA, more than one in four direct-care workers -- or close to one million workers -- had no health coverage.

Steven J. Stack, President, American Medical Association

“The subsidies upheld today help patients afford health insurance so they can see a doctor when they need one and not have to wait until a small health problem becomes a crisis. The subsidies provide patients with peace of mind that they will not risk bankruptcy should they become seriously ill or injured and experience catastrophic health care costs.”

Rich Umbdenstock, President and CEO American Hospital Association

"The AHA welcomes today’s Supreme Court decision. There were more than six million good reasons for it because it ensures continued access to health insurance subsidies for so many Americans.  In the short time the subsidies have been available, hard-working people who are sick, need care for chronic conditions, or want preventive care have been able to seek care more easily. Most significantly, providing access to primary and preventive care helps improve the health and well-being of individuals, family and communities." 

Denise Hanna, Partner and healthcare co-chair, Locke Lord

“The implications for the King v. Burwell decision favoring the plaintiffs had the ability to undermine the individual mandate and employer mandate in the 34 states that do not have their own Exchanges, thus dealing a serious blow to the underpinnings of the ACA. The Obama Administration really dodged a bullet here.”

Bruce Siegel, President and CEO, America's Essential Hospitals

"We still have a long way to go to solve the nation's health insurance crisis and ensure affordable and available care for all people. About 37 million people still lack health coverage in the United States, in part because 21 states still have not expanded Medicaid. We hope this decision will give states the confidence to extend coverage to the millions of vulnerable people who need it.”

America’s Health Insurance Plans

“With the certainty provided by the Supreme Court’s decision, now is the time to focus on what matters most to consumers – ensuring access to affordable coverage and high-quality health care. Health plans will continue to lead in advancing this goal.”

Standard & Poor’s

“Standard & Poor's Ratings Services believes that this ruling will not have any impact on rated U.S. not-for-profit and for-profit providers, as it is a continuation of the current operating environment. Today's ruling is a positive for the U.S. health insurance industry, especially for insurers that have invested heavily to compete on the insurance exchanges. This will help resolve an uncertainty that has been a pain point not just for insurers, but for the ACA as a whole.”

Robert Projansky, partner and head of the Health Care Reform Task Force, Proskauer

“The implications of the King decision are significant in the sense that a contrary decision would have had a significant impact on the implementation of ACA, placing pressure on states and the federal government to consider further action. However, standing alone, the implications are minimal. For the time being, the ACA will move forward, individuals throughout the country will remain eligible for premium assistance and employers will remain subject to the employer mandate. ... One wonders whether there will ever be another Supreme Court opinion that uses the word ‘pure Applesauce’ as a sentence.”

Andrew Shin, director of Health Care Policy and Life Sciences, ML Strategies

“While conventional wisdom is still that Congressional Republicans will pass a ‘palatable’ fix that kicks the can until after the 2016 Presidential election, there is also a growing level of doubt that reasonable minds will prevail as GOP presidential politics continues to heat up.”

Twitter: @HenryPowderly

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