The Supreme Court Ruling on King vs. Burwell – Affordable Care Act Subsidies Upheld
The highly anticipated ruling on the King vs. Burwell decision by the US Supreme Court arrived Thursday morning, June 25th, upholding a key tenet of the Affordable Care Act. This verdict sustains premium subsidies for 6.4 million Americans (286,000 in Virginia alone) who benefit from the tax credits in states like ours who are using the federal-run health insurance marketplace. These tax credits ensure that low- and moderate-income families and individuals are able to purchase health insurance that would otherwise be unaffordable.
The loss of premium subsidies would have been devastating to those who receive subsidies for health insurance, with ramifications extending beyond those directly benefiting from the tax credits. Had the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff (disallowing subsidies through the federal exchange) not only would recipients of the subsidies have suffered (both their finances and their overall health), but business productivity and the Virginia economy would have suffered as a result of a less-healthy workforce. Average premiums in Virginia would have increased an estimated 287%, which would have likely priced out even those who do not currently receive subsidies for the health insurance market. This decision by the Supreme Court will mitigate increases in number of uninsured families as well as financial burdens for those badly needing health care.
The federal exchange gives uninsured low-income individuals and families the ability to purchase comprehensive insurance plans at affordable costs that allow them and their families to receive preventive care in less expensive settings like a primary care physician’s office. This shift from emergency/intervention care to preventative care benefits patients, hospitals and insurers by reducing overall health care costs.
This historic decision is a welcome one—not just for Virginians and their families who were able to secure affordable health insurance to provide for their families medical needs—but mitigates the very real disruption and negative economic impact for healthcare institutions, insurance marketplace and business in our region.
The decision opens the door for the Commonwealth of Virginia to now consider anew the financial and health incentives to extending coverage under our state Medicaid program—thus ensuring the health and vitality of some of Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens: retirees, veterans, people with disabilities and working Virginians and their families.
Kerrie Wilson, CEO