King v Burwell
On Wednesday, March 4, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a lawsuit that challenges the availability of health insurance discounts in states like Missouri. The outcome of this case will have a major impact on Missourians’ ability to access affordable health insurance.
Here is what you need to know about the case:
What is the case about?
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), each state has a Health Insurance Marketplace where individuals, families and small groups can purchase private health insurance. In these Marketplaces, individuals and families making between 100-400% of the Federal Poverty Level (for example, $20,090 – 60,270 for a family of three) can qualify for subsidies, or discounts, to make insurance affordable at their income level.
Congress gave states a choice when it passed the ACA. States could choose to set up their own Marketplace or let the Federal government set it up for them. Missouri is one of 34 states using a Federally-run Marketplace. This case challenges whether the insurance discounts are available in states that are using a Federally-run Marketplace.
What is at stake?
If the Supreme Court rules that the subsidies are not available in states like Missouri, millions of Americans will lose the discounts that have finally made health insurance affordable for them.
As of mid-February, 2015, about 7.5 million Americans had signed up for discounted Marketplace insurance through Federally-run Marketplaces. In Missouri, more than 217,000 people have enrolled in discounted plans. Without the discounts, many of these Missourians will be unable to afford their premiums. A study by the RAND Corporation found that as many as 70% of those receiving discounts – nearly 152,000 Missourians – would lose their insurance if they lost their discounts.
In fact, the loss of discounts in 34 states could have a devastating effect on private insurance for everyone. Without the discounts, many healthy people would likely drop their insurance. As a result, the insurance pool would be made up of mostly people with health conditions, making insurance more expensive for everyone. The RAND Corporation estimates that everyone’s insurance rates could eventually rise 47 percent if the subsidies are no longer available.
Who could be affected by this Supreme Court case?
Click here to read Marketplace success stories, and to submit your story of gaining coverage through the Marketplace.
What if I currently have a discounted Marketplace plan?
For now, the discounts are safe. If you are receiving a discount on a Marketplace insurance plan, you should feel confident in using your plan.
When will the Supreme Court issue its ruling?
The Court will likely issue its in June 2015.
What do advocates think about the case?
Most health care advocates and legal scholars believe the law is clearly intended to makes discounts available in all 50 states, and the Supreme Court should leave the subsidies alone. At Missouri Health Care for All, we are very concerned that this partisan lawsuit could strip millions of people of their health insurance.
What happens after the Supreme Court rules?
However the Court rules, our work is not done. Missouri Health Care for All will continue working to protect against attacks on the Affordable Care Act, which has made a big difference for so many. We will continue working to pass Medicaid Expansion in Missouri. And we will continue to identify and act on other opportunities to advance our principles – that every Missourian deserves access to quality, affordable health care, no matter where they live or how much money they make.
What can I do?
Missouri Health Care for All and our partners will host Decision Day Rallies across the state of Missouri. We will come together at 5:30 PM the day the decision is released. We will rally, explain the decision, begin to understand the impacts on real lives, and move forward.
Where can I get more information?