Opponents of Obamacare are hoping to strike a major victory before the U.S. Supreme Court next year over the issue of federal subsidies for health coverage. The losers would be 13 million Americans.
The case, King v. Burwell, is challenging the provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows the federal government to provide financial assistance to people who buy insurance through the 37 state insurance exchanges operated by the federal government.
If the plaintiffs are successful, the court’s decision could eliminate these subsidies, which currently help 13 million people afford their coverage.
“Of the 37 states affected, several would probably scramble to establish minimal state-run exchanges to retain eligibility for tax credits for residents, particularly if the federal government makes back-end exchange technology available,” Drew Altman wrote at The Wall Street Journal.
The five biggest states without their own exchanges—Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania—have almost 7 million people on insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Of those, Pennsylvania, which just elected a Democratic governor to replace a Republican opponent of Obamacare, will probably set up an exchange for the 736,178 currently being served under federal auspices.
The case doesn’t affect anyone insured through an exchange run by their state.
– Steve Straehley, Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
How 13 Million Americans Could Lose Insurance Subsidies (by Drew Altman, Wall Street Journal)
King v. Burwell (Supreme Court of the United States Blog)
Non-Existent Computer Program Leaves a Million Obamacare Enrollment Discrepancies to be Resolved by Hand (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)