Healthcare stocks in the US were up after Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) won an important victory today.
Up for debate was whether subsidies would be available to people in all 50 states, or just those which set up insurance marketplaces under the act. The court ruled the subsidies should be available universally. The majority ruling removed the possibility of coverage being put at risk for more than 6.4m people.
Many health insurers have benefited from Obamacare, as the ACA is known, because the act makes it a legal requirement that people have insurance. Stocks in UnitedHealth, the US's biggest healthcare company, were up 2.61 per cent at the time of writing, while Humana was up 2.07 per cent.
"Congress passed the Affordable Care act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," chief justice John Roberts, who was one of the six, wrote in his statement.
Dissenting, associate justice Antonin Scalia said the decision was “absurd”:
This court… concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare (Supreme Court of the United States).
The continued battle over a law passed five years ago underlines how contentious the issue of universal healthcare is in America. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio weighed in, with both offering the opinions you might expect.
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
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.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 25, 2015
Rick Perry, a candidate to the right of the Republican Party, implied the battle would continue.
Americans deserve better than what we’re getting with Obamacare. It’s time we repealed and replaced it! http://t.co/1EHfbVKBMa— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) June 25, 2015