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Supreme Court Decision Means that Obamacare Exchanges can Continue to Restrict Access to Life-Saving Treatment

by | Jul 2, 2015

By Jennifer Popik, JD, Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics

Editor’s note. This appeared in the latest digital edition of National Right to Life News. You can read this story and all the other posts at

Supreme_court_east_facade4reIn the much anticipated Obamacare case, King v. Burwell, handed down June 25, the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision ruled that subsidies will continue to go to recipients, not only exchanges set up by state governments, but also in the states where the Federal government and set up a state exchange. When dozens of states either tried or gave up on establishing these expensive exchanges, the Federal government came in and set one up in that state.

The unpopular Obama Health Care Law, now over five years old, originally envisioned that the exchanges would operate as online marketplaces where people could find different levels of insurance and where qualifying residents could use advanceable tax credits to pay for some or all of plan premiums.

However, as these exchanges have started operating state by state, it is becoming commonplace that policies available in both the state and federal exchanges severely restrict the doctors and health care facilities in its plan networks. Evidence continues to emerge as to the extent of these limits. [1] Plan holders across the country have been finding out that under his or her new exchange plan, access to top hospitals, doctors, and drugs are all more restricted.

While many are quick to blame insurance companies, the real culprit is the Obamacare provision under which exchange bureaucrats must exclude insurers who offer policies deemed to allow “excessive or unjustified” health care spending by policyholders.

Under the Federal health law, state insurance commissioners are to recommend to its state exchanges the exclusion of “particular health insurance issuers … based on a pattern or practice of excessive or unjustified premium increases.” The exchanges not only exclude policies in an exchange when government authorities do not agree with premium levels, but the exchanges must even exclude insurers whose plans outside the exchange offer consumers the ability to reduce the danger of treatment denial by paying what those government authorities consider an “excessive or unjustified” amount.

This means that insurers who hope to be able to gain customers within the exchanges have a strong disincentive to offer any adequately funded plans that do not drastically limit access to care. So even if you contact insurers directly, outside the exchange, you are likely to find it hard or impossible to find an adequate individual plan. (See documentation at

When the government limits what can be charged for health insurance, it restricts what people are allowed to pay for medical treatment. While everyone would prefer to pay less–or nothing–for health care (or anything else), government price controls prevent access to lifesaving medical treatment that costs more to supply than the prices set by the government.

While Obamacare continues to remain law until a pro-repeal President can be elected, it is important to continue to educate friends and neighbors about the dangers the law poses in restricting what Americans can spend to save their own lives and the lives of their families. You can follow up-to-date reports here:

For more on taxpayer subsidies helping to pay for plans that cover elective abortion, go to

[1] More on this evidence can be found at,,

Categories: ObamaCare
Tags: ObamaCare