States Rush To Get Ahead Of SCOTUS Ruling Against Obamacare Subsidies

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Some states are publicly clarifying that they consider their health insurance marketplace created under Obamacare to be state-based, according to the Wall Street Journal.

That would prevent their residents from losing their tax credits under the law if the Supreme Court were to decide that tax credits were not available through the federal marketplace, HealthCare.gov. Two federal appeals court ruled differently on the issue last week — one upheld the subsidies; the other struck them down — and the issue could be heading to the high court.

Two officially state-based marketplaces, Idaho and New Mexico, used HealthCare.gov’s technical platform this year. But in their decision, the federal appeals court judges who struck down subsidies through the federal website lumped them in with the other 34 states using the federal marketplace. Idaho quickly proclaimed itself to be state-based after the ruling, the Journal reported.

“Your Health Idaho has always been a state-based exchange,” an Idaho spokeswoman told the newspaper. “During the first year, Your Health Idaho borrowed [the] federal application platform because there was not enough time to properly build the required technology.”

Two other state-based marketplaces, Nevada and Oregon, had already announced that they will switch to HealthCare.gov in 2015 after a disastrous experience with their own software this year. They have said publicly since the court ruling that they will still be state-based, according to the Journal.

A few other states, including Arkansas and Delaware, are labeled as “partnership” marketplaces, sharing responsibilities for administering the exchange with the federal government, and they use HealthCare.gov. Some of those states have also said in the week since the court decision that they should be considered “state-based.”

“We are administering a marketplace,” Rita Landgraf, Delaware’s secretary of health and social services, told the Journal. “We happen to use the IT that the federal government has set up, because we got a better economy of scale.”

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