West Michigan recipients of Obamacare kickbacks respond to ruling

Posted at 9:27 PM, Jun 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-25 22:21:10-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Reaction to a pivotal U.S. Supreme Court ruling that keeps federal tax credits in place for millions tied to the Affordable Care Act is continuing to get reaction on Thursday.

The decision affects more than 200,000 people here in Michigan.

It's a major win for the Obama administration, which keeps health care subsidies intact for Americans living not only in states with their own exchanges, but also in the 34 states with federal exchanges.

Challengers argued the federal government shouldn't be allowed to grant the subsidies in states without their own healthcare exchanges.

"This is a great day for me. This is $3,600 dollars that won't go out of my pocket," said exchange participant, Joseph Anthony.

West Michigan film maker and actor, Joseph Anthony said that Thursday's court decision is vital in order for him to afford health insurance.

"I got a text from my father who knows my situation within minutes of the announcement because for all intensive purposes, it would say here's $3,600 dollars you won't lose this year," said Anthony.

Five years ago, Anthony left the corporate world to pursue his film-making. With that change, also went his health insurance. He said that because of the Affordable Care Act, he was able to find a plan fitting his budget.

It was one line in the law that was up for debate that said subsidies would only be given to participants of exchanges "established by the state."

Currently, there are only 16 states and the District of Columbia that have set up their own exchanges. Thursday's ruling not only guaranties those tax kickbacks for those participants, but also those in the 34 states that have not set up their own exchanges.

Governor Snyder released a statement saying "Regardless of feelings on the Affordable Care Act, it's vital to our state that we continue working to improve and reform health care, create more and better jobs, and build a brighter future for our kids right here in Michigan."

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette was a little more blunt, releasing a statement saying " The court's ruling today continues the harm inflicted by Obamacare."

It's estimated that Anthony is just one of more than 220,000 Michigan residents who will continue to receive their tax credits through the government run health exchange.

"My dad forever has called it, it's not health insurance, it's bankruptcy insurance because the reality is it's the heart attack, it's the car wreck and you lose your home, and you lose your life savings," said Anthony.

Anthony said that the law being up-held will also help better encourage people like himself to pursue more creative careers, such as film-making because of the low cost for individual health care.

Also, several republican leaders outside of Michigan have expressed their views on Thursday ruling, including presidential candidate Jeb Bush, calling it "disappointing."