Health Care

Dem report: Justices could erase $65 billion in ObamaCare subsidies

Americans stand to lose $65 billion in tax credits if the Supreme Court rules against ObamaCare next year, according to a top House Democrat.

The report from Rep. Henry Waxman, ranking member on the Energy and Commerce Committee, details the impact that a ruling against the law in the case, King v. Burwell, would have on taxpayers in every zip code.

{mosads}“If the law’s opponents succeed, they will deprive Americans of $65 billion in tax credits, making it more difficult for millions of middle class families to have the health insurance coverage they need,” Waxman, one of the authors of the Affordable Care Act, said in a statement Tuesday.

The states with the most subsidies at stake include Florida, which stands to lose $12.2 billion; Texas, which could lose $8.5 billion; and North Carolina, which could lose $4.5 billion.

The estimated subsidy losses are far higher than the ones projected in a report from the nonprofit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which estimated $36 billion in subsidies could be lost among 7.3 million people in 2016 if the court rules against the law.

The central question facing the court in King v. Burwell is whether the government can legally hand out healthcare subsidies in the 34 states that have opted to use the federal marketplace instead of creating their own.

The law’s language says the subsidies can be doled out through exchanges created by the states. Democrats have chalked up the issue to a drafting error, saying it was clear that they intended for the subsidies to be distributed to people in all 50 states.

The Supreme Court announced that it would take up the case last month, spurring a campaign among Democrats to promote the law while warning of the financial pain that would result if the tax subsidies were struck down.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday expressed confidence that the court would side with the Obama administration.

Dismissing the merits of the case, she called for a ceasefire in the GOP’s “continuing obsession with dismantling” the law.

“It is long past time for opponents of the law to cease their assault on the health security of the American people, withdraw their radical suits, and recover their common sense,” she wrote in a release.

Waxman’s report uses 2016 estimates from the nonprofit health policy organization Kaiser Family Foundation and the Congressional Budget Office.

This story was updated at 3:14 p.m.


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