The Supreme Court upheld a majority of the Affordable Care Act, the landmark health legislation pushed by President Obama, including the individual mandate. However, the court did state that one portion of the law pertaining to Medicaid must change, according to CNN.
The provision in question expands eligibility for Medicaid to all people under the age of 65 who live below 133 percent of the poverty line, according to Bloomberg. If states did not comply with extending Medicaid, the provision threatened them with withdrawing all Medicaid funding.
The court ruled that states which do not expand eligibility will only have to forgo federal funds which are meant for the expansion, not all Medicaid funds.
The SCOTUS blog said, "On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn't comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding."
Essentially, the justices voted to leave it up to states on whether they wanted to participate in the Medicaid expansion program, said PBS NewsHour.
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"About half of the people who are expected to gain coverage under the Affordable Care Act gain it through the Medicaid program," said Alan Weil, the executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy, according to NPR. "So this is not a small change to Medicaid, and it's also not a small part of the Affordable Care Act.
The Medicaid provision of the law would expand health care to an estimated 17 million more people over the next 10 years, according to NPR.
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The federal government will spend more than $1 trillion in the next decade to expand Medicaid, but CNN said it was not immediately clear how the Supreme Court's ruling on this portion of the law would affect spending.
Thomas L. Johnson, president of Medicaid Health Plans of American, the trade association representing Medicaid health plans, said in a statement, "We commend the Supreme Court for keeping in place key elements of this historic legislation. MHPA and its member health plans remain committed to a strong partnership with the states and CMS to find a way to cover this population in need," according to MarketWatch.
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