Article Title

King v. Burwell: ACA Destruction Denied, ACA Expansion Enabled


ACA, Health Reform

Document Type



The November 1, 2015 beginning of the Affordable Care Act’s third health insurance open enrollment season highlights the decisive impact of the US Supreme Court’s most recent Affordable Care Act (ACA) decision. In late June 2015, the court handed down King v. Burwell, holding that the ACA authorizes the federal government to provide subsidies throughout the country to help low and middle-income people buy health insurance. These subsidies are a crucial linchpin of the ACA’s efforts to expand access to health insurance and, by extension, to expand access to health care and good health.

Beyond saving the law, the court’s 6-3 decision in King v. Burwell solidifies it. It grounds the crucial subsidies in the statute’s design rather than in an agency’s regulatory choice. It highlights key policy bases for the ACA’s framework. And it paves the way for access across the coverage continuum.