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Report Examines Potential Fallout from King v. Burwell

The Supreme Court's decision in King vs. Burwell will impact nearly 200,000 Missourians who currently receive premium tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. Credit: kconnors/morguefile.com
The Supreme Court's decision in King vs. Burwell will impact nearly 200,000 Missourians who currently receive premium tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. Credit: kconnors/morguefile.com
June 17, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A ruling is expected any day in the King vs. Burwell case, which threatens to unravel the Affordable Care Act. New data shows that in Missouri, a decision for the plaintiff could put health insurance out of reach for nearly 200,000 people.

The case challenges the legality of tax credits for people in Missouri and other states that use the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. If those credits are withdrawn, said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, 198,000 Missourians would see health-care premiums go from an average of $82 per month to more than four times that.

"Premiums would increase on average by $281 per month, and $3372 per year. "

A Families USA report broke down the number of Missourians at risk of losing tax credits by congressional district, and found the largest number concentrated in the St. Louis area.

The plaintiff in the case, David King, argued that the law as written states the tax credits can only go to consumers in states that established their own insurance marketplaces.

Pollack said he believes that if the tax credits are withdrawn, it would have devastating consequences for both health-care consumers and the health-care system at large. He predicted that the only people who would see the value in staying insured would be the elderly and infirm.

"As insurance pools increasingly are filled with older and sicker people, it means premiums will skyrocket," he said, "and we will experience a never-ending death spiral as more and more young and healthy people drop out."

A ruling in the case is expected before the end of this month.

The report is online at familiesusa.org.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO