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Supreme Court Case Could Impact Health Care of 200,000 Ohioans

PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday. Opponents argue the King v. Burwell case threatens access to healthcare tax credits for millions of Americans, including nearly 200,000 Ohioans. Photo credit: Christiana Care/Flickr.
PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday. Opponents argue the King v. Burwell case threatens access to healthcare tax credits for millions of Americans, including nearly 200,000 Ohioans. Photo credit: Christiana Care/Flickr.
March 3, 2015

CLEVELAND, Ohio - A U.S. Supreme Court hearing Wednesday could have serious implications for nearly 200,000 Ohioans receiving subsidies through the Affordable Care Act.

In King v. Burwell, justices will decide whether federal health insurance subsidies in states using the federal exchange, like Ohio, are illegal.

Sue Morano, an Intensive Care Unit nurse from Lorain, says the case threatens the health and financial security of millions of workers. She adds it would turn back the gains nurses and doctors have made in improving the delivery of care for patients.

"The healthcare law has helped so many people in ways they don't even realize," says Morano. "With the focus on preventative care, it's quite life-saving and it means my patients are living healthier lives."

The plaintiffs argue the federal subsidies should only be allowed in states that have established their own health insurance exchanges. It's estimated over 80 percent of Ohioans using the federal exchange are receiving subsidies to help cover the cost.

Morano says the law is saving money and improving the quality of care.

"It means certain diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and breathing problems like asthma are being treated in the primary care setting rather than in our emergency room," she says.

Governor John Kasich's office is investigating possible options should the court strike down the subsidies, but opponents of the health care law say the cost of a state-run exchange would be too high. With the uninsured rate at an all-time low, Morano says the stakes for those now receiving health care are simply too high.

"We simply cannot go back to a time when people have to choose between healthcare and putting food on the table, or making sure their family has a roof over their head," she says.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case sometime before June.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH