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Pennsylvania is first state to announce ObamaCare subsidies backup plan

Pennsylvania is first state to announce ObamaCare subsidies backup plan

Pennsylvania became the first state to announce a plan to save people’s ObamaCare subsidies if the Supreme Court rules against the federal government sometime this month.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement late Tuesday that he has submitted a blueprint to create a state-based exchange to save subsidies for nearly 350,000 people with ObamaCare, which he called “the responsible thing to do.”

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“I am committed to protecting hardworking Pennsylvanians from losing the assistance they rely on to purchase health care coverage,” Wolf, who was elected in 2014, wrote in a statement.

In the case, King v. Burwell, the Supreme Court could strike down subsidies for 6.4 million people in the 37 states that currently use the federal marketplace, HealthCare.gov, to sell healthcare plans.

Wolf had previously said that he was preparing a contingency plan. He's one of just a few governors who have been public about their plans for the ruling.

The move will likely put pressure on Republicans in Congress, who want to prevent governors from setting up exchanges, which they believe would make ObamaCare more entrenched.

Wolf's office underscored that the creation of a plan does not mean Pennsylvania will move to a state-run exchange if the court upholds the subsidies.

“This is simply another step in an effort to leave the door open so the state has this option in the event of an adverse Supreme Court ruling,” the office wrote in the release.

More than a dozen states quietly met last month to discuss contingency plans for the looming Supreme Court case involving billions of dollars in ObamaCare subsidies.

Most Republican state leaders — who have backed the court case — have avoided talking about how they would respond to a decision against the Obama administration. Behind the scenes, however, some are anxiously contacting states that run their own exchanges.

“In the last seven business days, I’ve probably had seven to 10 states contact me about contingency plans,” Jim Wadleigh, the director of Connecticut’s exchange, told The Hill last month.

Lawmakers in nearly a dozen states, including Ohio and Florida, are urging their governors to create a backup plan that involves setting up a state-based exchange, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In other states, such as Tennessee and Virginia, lawmakers are trying to ban their governors from moving to state-run exchanges.

Some GOP governors, such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, have vowed not to set up a marketplace, while others, such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich, have not ruled out the option.