In a major victory for President Obama, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Affordable Care Act. The 6-3 ruling ends a lawsuit that challenged the legality of federally run health exchanges under Obamacare. With this this ruling, Obamacare will remain in place through at least 2016, when President Obama leaves office. The Supreme Court decision also ensures that health care subsidies will continue for the millions of Americans living in the 34 states with federal exchanges.
In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, an additional 19 million Americans will now have health insurance in 2016 due to the new ruling. Looking at the graphic below, we see that number of uninsured Americans would have peaked at 50 million by 2020 had the court ruled against Obamacare. This is nearly double the number of uninsured Americans with Obamacare in place.
The Supreme Court ruling also has significant effects in the general health care market. Had the federal health care exchanges under Obamacare been shut down, millions of Americans would have turned to other sources of health care. As the graphic below shows, an additional six million Americans would have enrolled in employer-based health care coverage by 2016. Moreover, four million Americans would have switched to nongroup or "other" coverage, which includes individual plans. However, these numbers are still small compared to the nearly 20 million Americans that would have remained uninsured in 2016.
Even with the upholding of the Affordable Care Act, the struggle for universal health care in America is far from over. As the map below shows, high percentages of Americans were uninsured in 2014, when Obamacare was available through both state and federal exchanges. Interestingly, the southern states have notably higher levels of uninsured Americans than any other region in the U.S., with uninsured rates approaching 17%. Although these numbers are discouraging, more and more Americans continue to sign up for healthcare. Now that Obamacare is here to stay, the question is: will Americans actually sign up?
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