Study: 9.6 Million People Would Lose Insurance If SCOTUS Guts O-Care

Up to 9.6 million people would lose their health insurance under Obamacare if the Supreme Court rules later this year that the law’s tax subsidies are not legal in the 30-plus states that use HealthCare.gov, according to a new study.

RAND Corp, a non-partisan think tank, estimated that coverage in the HealthCare.gov states would drop from an estimated 13.7 million in 2015 to 4.1 million if the Court rules against the Obama administration. The study also projected that premiums in the HealthCare.gov markets would increase by 47 percent.

The analysis puts the stakes of the latest challenge to President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement into stark perspective.

The Court will hear the King v. Burwell case in the spring with its ruling expected in June. The plaintiffs argue that the law’s language prohibits the law’s financial help from being administered in states with a federal exchange, HealthCare.gov. The challenge was for a long time dismissed as a serious interpretative stretch and baffled those who were involved in and followed the law’s drafting. But with the Supreme Court agreeing to hear it, it has become another existential threat to Obamacare.

More than 30 states are using the federal website in 2015, and more than 6.5 million people have enrolled through HealthCare.gov so far this year. Nearly 90 percent of them are receiving financial assistance.

Open enrollment lasts until Feb. 15, 2015, and, if the pattern from 2014 holds, the law will see a significant surge in sign-ups before that deadline. RAND is projecting 13.7 million people would be covered in the individual market in the 30-plus HealthCare.gov states, which provides the baseline for its estimate.

If the Court invalidates subsidies on the federal website, coverage would likely become unaffordable for most people, which is why RAND projects a 70 percent decrease. Those who continue to pay for their coverage would be more likely to be sick, which would in turn drive up premiums.

The law’s authors and supporters, as well as journalists who covered the Obamacare debate, have argued that it was always intended for subsidies to be available on state and federal exchanges. But its opponents have thus far gotten one lower court to agree with their interpretation and now the high court is taking the case.

The full RAND study is below.

Rand on Scotus and Aca

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Livewire
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: