Capital Gazette
Cindy Huang
June 25, 2015

While Maryland has its own insurance exchange program, advocates say the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Thursday upholding the Affordable Care Act will help millions of Americans who need medical care.

The Supreme Court ruled the federal government can subsidize people who use the national insurance exchange program.

Vincent DeMarco, president of Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, said while Maryland is not affected, the court again showed its support for affordable health care for all Americans.

“The rest of America can rest easy that their health care would not be undermined,” DeMarco said. “It would have been devastating for hospitals and patients all across the country if the decision would have gone the wrong way.”

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care, said Americans who are receiving federal help with health care costs can “exhale at last.”

“The Affordable Care Act is now woven into American’s health care system, continuously helping to make it better. It is not going away and I will keep fighting any further attempts to chip away at the substantial good that it is doing for our country,” Cardin said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Aetna, an insurance company that serves the county, said the decision will help people who depend on subsidies.

“Subsidies played a significant role in attracting the 6.4 million consumers who depended on subsidies to buy health care plans on the federally run health exchanges. This decision ensures that their health care benefits will not be disrupted,” Aetna said in a statement.

CareFirst, another health care insurance provider in the county, said the decision has no impact on people who purchase insurance through the company.

Maryland is one of 14 states with state-based exchanges.

The number of people who bought private health plans on the Maryland exchange doubled from last year, according to the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. About 119,000 people bought private plans through the program during its three-month open enrollment that ended in February, an increase from about 63,000 who bought private plans the previous year.

The Baltimore Sun contributed to this report.

Last modified: June 26, 2015