Big news from the Washington Post:
A federal appeals court panel in the District struck down a major part of the 2010 health-care law Tuesday, ruling that the tax subsidies that are central to the program may not be provided in at least half of the states…. The three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with plaintiffs who argued that the language of the law barred the government from giving subsidies to people in states that chose not to set up their own insurance marketplaces.
This could be the biggest blow yet to ObamaCare.
Hours later, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously upheld the subsidies, which likely means the case will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Alaska is one of 27 states that opted out of creating its own exchange. That decision was made by Gov. Sean Parnell, along with the decision not to accept federal money to expand Medicaid. Because of Parnell’s decision, if the ruling is upheld, which is unlikely, thousands of Alaskans will become ineligible for subsidies, and across the country, tens of billions of dollars of federal money will be forfeited by the states.
Since As of April, 12,890 Alaskans have signed up for healthcare under ObamaCare. If you make less than 400 percent of the poverty level in Alaska– $57,400 a year for a single person or $117,760 for a family of four—you will qualify for subsidies. The exact number of people who are receiving subsides in Alaska isn’t known, but according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more people are qualified for such subsidies than actually signed up for ObamaCare. (Laurel Andrews at the ADN reported that 88 percent of those who signed up qualified for subsidies).
The consulting firm Avalere Health calculated if the federal subsidies are ultimately banned, it would mean people getting health insurance through the federal exchanges would face an average premium increase of 76 percent in those 36 states. In all, those states by 2016 forfeit about $36 billion in federal subsidies to purchase insurance, Avalere figures.
The concept around such subsidies can be compared to the concept of the state or federal government contributing to employers’ healthcare. However, the subsidies aren’t nearly as generous as the ones paid to state employees—including to the governor–many of whom don’t have to pay anything at all for their healthcare insurance.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org