Studies: 8 Million People Will Lose Health Care If Supreme Court Decides To Gut Obamacare

dJanuary 12, 2015

ThinkJustice:

If a lawsuit seeking to gut the Affordable Care Act succeeds in the Supreme Court, enrollment in plans purchased through the law’s health exchanges would decline by 9.6 million people and unsubsidized premiums in this market would spike by 47 percent in the states impacted by the ruling, according to a study released last week by the RAND Corporation. Although a footnote to the study explains that 1.6 million of these individuals would be able to find coverage through some other source, that still leaves 8 million people without health insurance.

RAND’s conclusions are largely corroborated by an Urban Institute study, also released last week, which concludes that “a victory for the plaintiff would increase the number of uninsured by 8.2 million people” and that “average nongroup premiums in 34 states would increase by 35 percent, affecting those purchasing inside and outside those Marketplaces.”

Although the RAND study predicts a 47 percent increase in premiums should the Supreme Court side with the plaintiffs in a case known as King v. Burwell, the actual consequences for most people insured through Affordable Care Act plans would be even worse. The law gives states a choice to either set up their own exchange or allow the federal government to do so for them. A single passage of the Affordable Care Act, if read out of context, seems to suggest that tax credits that help most Obamacare customers pay for their insurance are only available in states that run their own health exchange. Although the entire law makes clear that all exchanges, whether run by the federal government or a state, should provide tax credits, a minority of the lower court judges to consider the issue — all of whom are Republicans — have agreed with the plaintiffs’ reading of the law. The Supreme Court has five Republicans and only four Democrats.

RAND’s prediction that premiums will spike 47 percent in states impacted by a hypothetical victory for the plaintiffs in King refers to “[u]nsubisidzed premiums in the ACA-complaint individual market.” In other words, this is the premium spike that consumers will face after accounting for the fact that they’ve already lost a tax credit that dramatically reduces the cost of most exchange consumers’ premiums. Approximately 87 percent of consumers in the exchanges receive some level of tax credit.

According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, the average Obama consumer who receives a tax credit would face an immediate 322 percent premium hike if they lost that credit — and that’s before accounting for the additional premium spike described by the RAND study. In poorer states, the average hike is likely to be much higher. In Mississippi, according to health reporter Jonathan Cohn, it could be as high as 1,800 percent!

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6 thoughts on “Studies: 8 Million People Will Lose Health Care If Supreme Court Decides To Gut Obamacare

  1. Great insight. What do you think about Health care companies providing their own insurance, like in Pennsylvania? It is working great for them and keeps the costs down because there is no intensive to jack up prices that would cost their own company money? So far, I think its ingenious! (watched a documentary on it). It also allows them the choice of a couple other hospitals as well… Interesting concept!

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  2. Actually, RAND is stumping for the Dems (they’re a liberal think tank). Their numbers are really off. As someone (one of three people) that has actually read the damn bill cover to cover, I can tell you a) the law was specifically written to EXCLUDE healthcare.gov subsidies, b) the number of people cited in this study as going to be “uninsured” is wrong and the increase has been inflated, and c) the costs cannot be determined because it assumes that there is nothing there to take it’s place. That’s not going to happen. We’re going to have some sort of replacement for this law eventually, since it cannot exist long-term on it’s own. It’s too expensive and will bankrupt the country. Costs are already 210% what the CBO said they’d be. That’s cost to the FEDERAL government. Not to you and me individually. Don’t get sucked into the “cost” game. Insurance companies can always get you lower premiums…but the quality of the insurance you’re going to have goes down…as it already has. People getting insured for the first time are learning that because of high co-pays and higher still deductibles, they don’t get ANY benefits. They never hit the deductibles listed, so they’re paying premiums for the right to have insurance that pays them nothing. That’s the costliest part!

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  3. So wouldn’t that put us back to square one? About the same amount of uninsured Americans. The fix should have been simple open up state lines to insurance companies, create competition and rates will drop, we don’t need Obama and his followers to control our health care.

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    • Yes, but. If they try to gut Obamacare it will force increases, AGAIN, by about 35%. Not doable for most. The best thing I have heard of has already happened in Pennsylvania. The largest non-profit health care facility has started offering their OWN INSURANCE (WHICH IS GOOD IN A COUPLE DIFFERENT HOSPITALS AS WELL). What this does is take out the need to hick rates because they would only be hiking them on themselves! It is working great for all involved. Needs further research but can you imagine the implications if Health care facilities offered their own insurance and took out the need for the bull-chit insurance companies?? Imagine… Haven’t heard a good argument against it so please, fill me with them and I will write an article on it!

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