A recent Supreme Court case focusing on a small wording detail within the Affordable Care Act could have big consequences on 7.5 million people across 37 states.
The Kaiser Family, a non-profit health policy group, estimated that this could be the number of people losing insurance subsidies if the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs in the King vs. Burwell case. The case was brought to the Supreme Court by David King and three other Virginia citizens who claim insurance subsidies should only be available in Washington D.C. and 13 states, including New York, who have set up their own insurance exchanges. The plaintiffs argue that the subsidies should not be available to citizens without a state-run exchange, who use the national website HealthCare.gov to determine subsidy eligibility. This is due to the wording used within the Obamacare bill, although the government claims that subsidies should be open to citizens throughout the US.
Among the estimated 7.5 million people who will lose subsidies, an estimated 6.1 million of them could become uninsured. For many, insurance costs could creep up to 30 percent of their annual household income without financial subsidies, making health insurance too expensive to be purchased. In addition, about 1.2 million people who are not eligible for subsidies could lose their insurance, bringing the total to a startling 8.1 million uninsured.
Copays for medications, including birth control, as well as coverage for routine tests are at stake for 34 states if the court rules in favor of King.
The court’s ruling is not expected until summer.