Health Care Reform

King v. Burwell: The Prohibitive Cost of Any Congressional Response to a Ruling Against the Affordable Care Act

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is shown in Washington, Octover 3, 2015. SOURCE: AP/Susan Walsh

Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)–January 29, 2015.  With the Supreme Court set to hear oral arguments in the latest court challenge to the Affordable Care Act next month, the Center for American Progress has released an issue brief that shows that should the Court deny more than 8 million Americans health care through the exchanges, Congress would have little fiscal or political ability to protect them.

Due to budgetary rules, if the Court eliminates tax credits for health insurance in states that do not run their own marketplace, the Congressional Budget Office would be forced to adjust its baseline spending for the Affordable Care Act downward by what the Urban Institute estimates will be $340 billion over 10 years. This is because few if any states would be fiscally or politically equipped to set up their own exchange. The result would be seriously crippled markets, causing costs to rise even for those who do not receive tax credits or purchase insurance through the marketplaces.

“Should the Court choose to invalidate this important part of the law, it would mean millions of Americans would immediately find themselves unable to afford health care,” said Topher Spiro, CAP Vice President for Health Policy and author of the brief. “Any congressional response would cost as much as $340 billion over 10 years, which is almost impossible in this political and budgetary climate. Congress and the Court need to be fully aware that overturning this portion of the law would have disastrous consequences for patients and private markets.”

In King v. Burwell, opponents of the Affordable Care Act claim that tax credits should not be available for health plans sold through the federal marketplace. This is a fundamentally flawed and politically skewed interpretation that, if upheld by the Court, would be disastrous for millions of Americans and would leave Congress with little to no ability to respond.

Click here to read the brief.


Related Article:

King v. Burwell: Nurses, Doctors and Working People Tell U.S. Supreme Court: Millions of Americans Counting on Tax Credits for More Affordable Healthcare Premiums