Study: 9.6M could lose ObamaCare if subsidy challenge succeeds

Roughly 9.6 million people could lose medical coverage on ObamaCare's exchanges if the Supreme Court rules that subsidies distributed by the federal marketplaces are invalid, according to a new study

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Researchers with the RAND Corp., a nonpartisan research group, said such a ruling could cause "significant instability" and "threaten the viability of the individual health insurance market" in the 34 states where the federal government manages the exchange. 

Premiums on the individual market would also rise by 47 percent, or $1,610 annually, for a 40-year-old non-smoker with a silver plan, the study said. 

The findings point to the high stakes in this year's King v. Burwell case, which is expected to receive a Supreme Court ruling in the summer. 

Plaintiffs argue that ObamaCare does not allow subsidies to be distributed on exchanges established by the federal government. A finding in their favor would effectively gut the healthcare law, RAND said. 

"Our analysis confirms just how much the subsidies are an essential component to the functioning of the ACA-compliant individual market," said Christine Eibner, author of the study and a senior economist at RAND.