A project of the Galen Institute
American Action Forum
06/04/15
The American Action Forum recently assessed the plausible effects of a ruling for the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, King v Burwell, concerning the legality of subsidies in the federally-run health insurance exchanges implemented under the Affordable Care Act. At the time of writing, the most up-to-date number for enrollees at risk of losing a health insurance subsidy was 7.7 million. But this week, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services released an update to enrollment figure that counts effectuated enrollment, which includes only households that have paid an insurance premium. As generally expected, roughly 15 percent of individuals with “plan selections” did not pay a premium and become actually enrolled. In light of this most recent update, roughly 6.6 million individuals across 37 states are at risk of losing their subsidies.
The Hill
06/04/15
A group of House conservatives on Thursday unveiled the latest version of their ObamaCare replacement plan — intentionally steering clear of a contentious court decision that could throw the law into flux. The repackaged plan from the Republican Study Committee would fully repeal ObamaCare while creating new tax deductions and incentives for people to use health savings accounts. It does not address Congress's biggest debate over ObamaCare this year: how Republicans should respond to the looming case, King v. Burwell, if justices decide to strike down subsidies for 6.3 million people.
The Wall Street Journal
06/04/15
WASHINGTON—Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said Thursday that a potential Supreme Court decision voiding the health law’s tax credits would create widespread disruption, but that federal officials were prepared to work with states to mitigate the effects. A move by the court to strike a key component of the 2010 federal health-care overhaul could mean “the number of uninsured would jump dramatically” and that a “death spiral” would ensue in insurance markets in most of the country, she said, as sicker people kept coverage and healthier ones dropped it. The federal government has provided tax credits to help low- and moderate-income consumers pay for health premiums in about three-dozen states through the HealthCare.gov website.
Morning Consult
06/04/15
In less than a month, the Supreme Court will rule on King v. Burwell, a case that could topple the Affordable Care Act. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, that would leave almost 8 million Americans unable to pay for healthcare. Chances are, however, that the average voter can’t tell you much about it. New Morning Consult polling shows that this is gradually changing. Awareness of the legal battle has grown since oral arguments in early March, when 44 percent of voters said that they did not know or had no opinion on the core issue at stake in King v. Burwell: the legality of offering healthcare subsidies through the federal exchange. A poll conducted in late May shows that number dropped to 37 percent. The increase in attention came mostly from Democrats, 41 percent of whom reported having no knowledge or no opinion in February; in May, only 34 percent gave the same response.
Bloomberg Politics
06/03/15
If Republicans get their way at the Supreme Court this month and wipe out Obamacare premium subsidies for millions of Americans, the ensuing damage to their party in 2016 swing states could be poignant. A state-by-state analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that about 6.4 million Americans in 34 states that use the federal marketplace would lose a total of $1.7 trillion monthly tax credit dollars—an average of $272 per person—and face a net premium increase of 287 percent.
Vox
06/03/15
The Supreme Court could decide this month that the financial help 6.4 million Americans receive to cover their health insurance costs are illegal — sending premium costs skyrocketing as much as 650 percent in states with some of the poorest residents. The case, King v. Burwell, would affect people in the 36 different states that use Healthcare.gov as their marketplace. But the pain won't be felt equally, according to a new graphic from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-care nonprofit with a wealth of data. The real losers in a ruling against Obamacare: the states that have the most people enrolled under the law and where incomes are low.
Associated Press
06/03/15
The Supreme Court could wipe away health insurance for millions of Americans when it resolves the latest fight over President Barack Obama’s health overhaul. But would the court take away a benefit from so many people? Should the justices even consider such consequences?
Market Watch
06/02/15
House lawmakers are gearing up to take fresh aim at the Affordable Care Act’s tax on medical devices. The House Ways and Means Committee will consider a bill Tuesday to repeal the 2.3% excise tax on sales of devices including pacemakers and stents. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen, a Minnesota Republican. Read about Paulsen’s bill. A repeal of the tax has passed the House three times previously, according to Paulsen’s office: once as a stand-alone bill and twice as part of other bills. The Senate passed a nonbinding repeal of the tax in 2013. The tax raises money for President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law. Repeal would reduce revenues by $26.5 billion from next year through 2025, according to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. Paulsen’s bill doesn’t include a way to make up the lost revenue.
Wall Street Journal
06/02/15
The Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell ruling will make headlines whenever it arrives. It will also be genuine news to much of the country. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health Policy News Index, which tracks how closely the public follows health stories in the news, found that 59% of Americans have not been paying much or any attention to news stories about the case, and only 16% have been following very closely. That means that when the verdict comes the media’s first job will be to explain what the case was about.
American Health Policy Institute
06/02/15
Relying on any system to continue requires that such a system is sustainable. If it is not, then, as the late economist Herb Stein has said, “it will stop.” In stopping, however, such a system will impact those who rely on it and assume that it will continue.

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