Policy & Research


Issue Brief: King v. Burwell Ruling

What the U.S. Supreme Court decision means for the ACA

By Linda J. Sheppard, J.D. | July 07, 2015

Issue Brief: King v. Burwell Ruling

On June 25, 2015, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the Court’s decision in the case of King v. Burwell. The 6-3 ruling upheld the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule that allows eligible individuals who purchase health insurance through the federal insurance exchange, HealthCare.gov, to receive premium tax credits.

Of the 85,490 Kansans who enrolled on the exchange in the 2015 enrollment period, 69,979 (82%) were receiving premium tax credits; the Court's decision allows these Kansans to keep their eligibility for government assistance in paying their premiums. 

The outcome of the case rested on the Court’s interpretation of four key words in Section 36B of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)-- an exchange "established by the state"

Linda Sheppard, J.D., Senior Analyst and Strategy Team Leader for health reform at the Kansas Health Institute, has prepared an issue brief of the King v Burwell ruling and what it could mean for the future of the ACA. Please connect with Linda should you have any additional questions about this case. 

The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.