By Baker Owens –
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, one of several Republican attorney generals to sign on to an amicus brief in the King v Burwell challenge to the law, released a statement on Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the Affordable Care Act.
In his statement, Wilson emphasized his agreement with Justice Scalia regarding interpretation of language in law making. “Today, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court interpreted the plain meaning of this law in the broadest and most abstract way possible in order to save a broken government-run healthcare system. I agree with Justice Scalia, as he stated in his dissenting opinion, ‘Today’s opinion changes the usual rules of statutory interpretation for the sake of the Affordable Care Act.’ Even Chief Justice Roberts conceded that these arguments were ‘strong.’
The language in question concerned whether subsidies were allowed under the ACA rules if they were distributed through the federal marketplace. The law as passed stated that subsidies would be allowed in the exchanges as “established by the state” but did not specifically say that it authorized the subsidies for exchanges established by the federal government.” In the court’s decision on Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts argued that “established by the state” is an ambiguous phrase and that Congress did not mean for subsidies to be disallowed in certain cases so the law must be interpreted to include subsidies for all the exchanges, whether state or federal.
Wilson also expressed his concern about the manner in which the ACA was passed and implemented. “This case has never been solely about the merits of providing healthcare to the American people, but more about the unconstitutional way the Affordable Care Act was written and implemented.
Separation of powers was also a concern for AG Wilson. “Congress is the proper venue to debate and fix our healthcare laws. I hope this Congress will seek the opportunity to pass health care reforms which allow states to develop market-based solutions in order to provide citizens with access to the quality, affordable healthcare they deserve.”