A few weeks ago, the Urban Institute
released a report
showing that the people most likely to lose their health insurance if the Supreme Court rules against the government in the King v. Burwell
suit are, basically, the Republican base. The majority is white, employed at least part time, southern, and middle-aged. The Pew Trusts takes a deeper look
into the case and what it would mean for those 8.2 million in the 34 states that could lose health insurance.
Health insurance rates in those states are expected to rise by as much as 35 percent, which may make coverage unaffordable even for those who don’t qualify for tax credits. Some believe that if the tax credits are disallowed by the Supreme Court, the underpinnings of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law would collapse.
"It will be a horror movie if (the credits are struck down)," said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, which supported passage of the ACA. […]
In the 34 states where people use the federal exchange, an estimated 9.3 million people are expected to receive $36.1 billion in tax subsidies in 2016. A recent analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute estimated that if the Supreme Court blocked these subsidies, 8.2 million of these residents would not be able to find affordable health insurance in 2016.
"(A King win) disenfranchises millions of Americans from affordable health coverage, most of them working people," said Trish Riley, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy.
For all those reasons, Virginia filed a legal brief in support of the law joined by a number of the other states which rely on the federal exchange, including Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. They were joined by other states—including New York, California, and Maryland—which have their own exchanges because those states are so concerned about the disruption that could occur nationally if the subsidies were to disappear. Most of the insurers participating in these markets are national, and the hit they would receive in the 34 states in question would reverberate throughout the whole system. All of these states, too, agree with Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring's assertion that there was a possibility of subsidies being withheld from states that didn't establish their own exchanges.
It's ironic that Virginia took the lead on that brief, because the King case was born in Virginia. It's also ironic that the lead plaintiff, David King, wants to kill Obamacare and the subsidies because he thinks all the people who benefit from it are on welfare and are "probably not paying for it anyway." In fact, the people he wants to hurt in the immediate term are probably his friends and neighbors. Who vote Republican.
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