The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a major challenge to Obamacare, ruling that federal subsidies can be given to individuals who live in states that did not set up their own health care exchanges. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the court’s liberal wing in the 6-3 decision in King v. Buwell.
If the court would have sided with the plaintiffs, as many as 6.4 million people could have lost their federal aid since they live in states that opted against creating their own insurance marketplaces and instead rely on the federal exchange at healthcare.gov. Republicans, meanwhile, were hoping that such a ruling would have opened the door for them to achieve what has been their chief legislative goal since the Affordable Healthcare Act was signed into law five years ago: Repealing Obamacare. Exactly how they were going to do that—and exactly what they would replace it with—remains unclear.
Nonetheless, the men and women hoping to be the GOP's presidential nominee in 2016 wasted little time voicing their displeasure with the law and the Supreme Court that has now rejected two major challenges to it. A quick rundown of the early responses from the 2016 field:
Jeb Bush, via a statement:
"I am disappointed by today’s Supreme Court ruling in the King v. Burwell case. But this decision is not the end of the fight against Obamacare. ... As President of the United States, I would make fixing our broken health care system one of my top priorities. I will work with Congress to repeal and replace this flawed law with conservative reforms that empower consumers with more choices and control over their health care decisions. Here is what I believe: We need to put patients in charge of their own decisions and health care reform should actually lower costs."
Today's #SCOTUScare ruling means Republicans must redouble their efforts to repeal and replace this destructive & costly law. -SKW— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) June 25, 2015
Marco Rubio, via a string of tweets:
I disagree with the Court’s ruling and believe they have once again erred in trying to correct the mistakes made by President Obama... and Congress in forcing ObamaCare on the American people. Despite the Court’s decision, ObamaCare is still a bad law that is having a negative impact on our country and on millions of Americans. I remain committed to repealing this bad law and replacing it... with my consumer-centered plan that puts patients and families back in control of their health care decisions. We need Consumer Care, not ObamaCare.
This decision turns both the rule of law and common sense on its head. #KingvBurwell— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) June 25, 2015
Mike Huckabee, via a statement:
Today's King v. Burwell decision, which protects and expands ObamaCare, is an out-of-control act of judicial tyranny. Our Founding Fathers didn't create a "do-over" provision in our Constitution that allows unelected, Supreme Court justices the power to circumvent Congress and rewrite bad laws. The Supreme Court cannot legislate from the bench, ignore the Constitution, and pass a multi-trillion dollar "fix" to ObamaCare simply because Congress misread what the states would actually do. The architects and authors of ObamaCare were intentional in the way they wrote the law. The courts have no constitutional authority to rescue Congress from creating bad law. The solution is for Congress to admit they screwed up, repeal the "nightmare of ObamaCare", and let states road-test real health care reforms.
This decision turns common language on its head. Now leaders must turn our attention to making the case that ObamaCare must be replaced.— Chris Christie (@ChrisChristie) June 25, 2015
Rick Perry, via a statement:
The Obama Administration has ignored the text of the Affordable Care Act time and again, and today’s ruling allows them to continue to disregard the letter of the law. While I disagree with the ruling, it was never up to the Supreme Court to save us from Obamacare. We need leadership in the White House that recognizes the folly of having to pass a bill to know what’s in it. We need leadership that understands a heavy-handed, one-size-fits-all policy does nothing to help health outcomes for Americans.
Carly Fiorinia, via Facebook:
It is outrageous that the Supreme Court once again rewrote ObamaCare to save this deeply flawed law despite the plain text and in the face of overwhelming evidence that the law is not working for the majority of Americans. … The lasting solution here is what we've been saying all along. We need to repeal ObamaCare. It hasn't worked. We need to do the one thing we've never tried in our healthcare system—real competition. We know that competition provides lower prices and higher quality. But instead of a free market, healthcare so far has been a regulated oligopoly. We used to regulate insurance companies in all 50 states and now, we’ve nationalized that process. All Americans agreed with President Obama's goals of quality, affordable care, but that is not what we got.
Those on the other side of the aisle, meanwhile, were slightly more enthused by the decision.
The Supreme Court recognized the common-sense reading of the ACA. Access to affordable health care shouldn't depend on where you live.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 25, 2015
Yes! SCOTUS affirms what we know is true in our hearts & under the law: Health insurance should be affordable & available to all. -H— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 25, 2015
This post was updated to add additional responses as they became available.
Other great articles in Slate: