The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Thursday to uphold a major part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul means just over 160,000 people in Ohio will continue receiving a sizable federal subsidy on their monthly premiums.
Here’s what the ruling means to the state and the reaction to it:
OHIO BY THE NUMBERS
Most of the nearly 189,000 Ohioans who signed up for health care coverage on the federal marketplace receive a subsidy that was upheld by the court. In all, just over 161,000 residents receive the tax credit.
The average tax credit per enrollee is $255 each month, but the amount swells above $1,000 for some.
REACTION IN COLUMBUS
Cheers and applause from Democrats echoed inside the Ohio Statehouse when the high court’s decision was announced in the middle of a news conference by Democratic lawmakers and a several dozen abortion rights advocates.
The reaction was much different from the governor’s office.
Republican Gov. John Kasich called the ruling disappointing.
“The law has driven up Ohio’s health insurance costs significantly and I remain convinced that Congress should repeal it and replace it with something that actually reduces costs,” Kasich said in statement.
Like many Republican governors, Kasich opted to let the federal government run the exchange. He said at the time that setting up a state exchange was too costly and Ohio would have little flexibility in operating it.
He said on Thursday that Congress should help give states the ability to “help reduce the law’s ongoing negative impact.”
“I’m starting to cry just talking about it,” said Susan Halpern, a 55-year-old freelance contractor in communications from Columbus, who immediately posted the news to her Facebook page.
With an irregular income, she said the subsidy makes a huge difference. Without it, she said the only way she could continue to pay the premium would be to drain her retirement savings.
Going without health care is not option for her.
“As a breast cancer survivor I could not, not have health insurance,” she said. “I always have to have insurance no matter what it costs.”
Cindy Connelly, 63, of Amelia, near Cincinnati, applied last year through the marketplace after her husband was laid off and lost his health care.
She and her husband pay $247 a month after receiving a $1,000 subsidy from the government.
“It’s not the greatest insurance, but at least it’s insurance so you don’t lose your home and everything you’ve worked for,” she said. “I appreciate that Obama stuck with it. He never faltered and made it happen. I’m glad he did.”
Associated Press writer Kantele Franko contributed to this report.