U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare Could Impact CO
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Denver, CO - Should the federal government be allowed to help pay for health insurance for people anywhere in the country, or only in states that have set up health exchanges? That's the question before the U.S. Supreme Court today (Wed.) with King v. Burwell. Advocates of the Affordable Care Act say millions of Americans could lose coverage if the court sides with the challengers. Comments from Melissa Hart, director, Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law at CU-Boulder; and Adam Fox, director, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. Image available: Photo of U.S. Supreme Court building.
The U-S Supreme Court will hear King versus Burwell today, a case that challenges whether the federal government can provide financial assistance for health insurance across the nation, or only in states that have set up health exchanges. Advocates for the current law say more than nine-million Americans could lose health insurance coverage if the Court sides with the plaintiffs. Melissa Hart with the Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law at C-U Boulder says the ruling could have a big impact here in Colorado.
"If the court rules as the challengers are asking them to, the Affordable Care Act will not work, and even in states like Colorado where we have an exchange, it's not going to work anymore."
Hart says if the court strips away financial assistance for consumers on the federal marketplace, poor and working families could lose tax credits that make coverage affordable, which could drive up the cost of premiums for everyone. She says that could throw the entire healthcare system into chaos.
Adam Fox with the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative says the Affordable Care Act is working - more than 10 million people nationwide now have health coverage who did not have it before. He says more than half of those who got insurance through Colorado's health exchange qualified for financial assistance.
"There are a lot of people that find the cost of health insurance out of their reach, and these financial assistance subsidies that exist really make sure that everybody has at least some access to basic health coverage."
The plaintiffs in the case say the court shouldn't base its decision on possible negative outcomes, but only on the written text of the law. Hart adds key votes on the court, like Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy, have taken the effects of the court's actions into account in the past, and that could make a big difference in the outcome of this case.
The outcome of a case being heard today at the U-S Supreme Court could have a big impact on health care in Colorado. Eric Galatas has more.
Reach Melissa Hart at (303) 229-5323, Adam Fox at (303) 839-1261. Follow the case on the Supreme Court's blog, http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/king-v-burwell/.
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