Fate of 6.4M Rests on ObamaCare Case
At least 66% would drop health coverage without subsidies: report
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2015 12:11 PM CDT
In this March 4, 2015, file photo, a crowd gathers outside the Supreme Court in Washington as the court hears arguments in King v. Burwell.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

(Newser) – Some 10.2 million people have paid for health insurance coverage under ObamaCare this year, but 6.4 million of those could lose their subsidies if the Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell. A rep for the Kaiser Family Foundation tells the Washington Post the new government figures offer the best assessment yet of how many Americans will be affected by such a decision. "These are the people we now know are receiving subsidies that would be lost if the court sides with the challengers," he says. The plaintiffs argue residents of 34 states who bought coverage on the federal exchange aren't entitled to tax credits due to four words at the heart of the Affordable Care Act. Most who would be affected come from two large area groups: one covering Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Texas, the other covering Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. At an average of $272 a month, the subsidies total $1.7 billion per month.

Some 2.1 million people would lose $595 million in subsidies per month in Texas and Florida alone. If forced to pay the cost of coverage in full, subsidized enrollees would face an average effective premium increase of 287%. Those in Alaska and Utah would face a 500% increase; Mississippi enrollees would see a 650% hike, researchers say. The Urban Institute estimates two-thirds of those receiving subsidies would give up their coverage without help, Politico reports. Those most at risk are white, employed, live in the South, and have modest incomes. If the Supreme Court revokes coverage, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida Gov. Rick Scott both say the federal government will need to come up with a solution. Pennsylvania is the only state to put forth a backup plan, reports the Hill. Gov. Tom Wolf says he will create a state-based exchange to save subsidies for 350,000 residents because it's "the responsible thing to do."