KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Still No Plan B From White House If Supreme Court Strikes Down Obamacare Subsidies

With a decision expected in just a few days from the high court, many wonder why the Obama administration has not offered a backup plan, even as HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell warns that the number of uninsured could spike if the subsidies are struck down. Delaware joins Pennsylvania, however, in moving to save the health coverage subsidies if they are ruled out.

CQ Healthbeat: State Officials Perplexed By White House Silence On Obamacare Contingencies
With the fate of President Barack Obama's top legislative accomplishment hanging in the balance, state officials are increasingly concerned that the administration is refusing to discuss contingency plans for insurance markets should the Supreme Court later this month strike down 2010 health care law subsidies for 6.4 million low and middle-income people. Officials in a variety of states, including many led by Republicans, say they are panicked by the uncertainty a ruling against the government in King v. Burwell could unleash. Justices are weighing whether the health care overhaul allows federal subsidies for coverage to be offered in all states, or just in those that, as the law states, are “established by the state.” Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have created their own state-run health insurance exchanges; the others that rely on the federal website to enroll people could see aid disappear. (Adams, 6/4)

The Hill: Second State Moves To Save ObamaCare Subsidies
A second state has announced a backup plan in case the Supreme Court rules against ObamaCare this month. Delaware's top health official said Wednesday that the state would create its own healthcare exchange to preserve the insurance subsidies at stake in the case King v. Burwell. (Ferris, 6/4)

And some see a GOP win on the subsidies as hurting the party's 2016 presidential chances --

Bloomberg: GOP Victory On Obamacare Could Hurt Party In 2016, Report Suggests
If Republicans get their way at the Supreme Court this month and wipe out Obamacare premium subsidies for millions of Americans, the ensuing damage to their party in 2016 swing states could be significant. ... In battleground Florida — home of presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio and likely candidate Jeb Bush, as well as an open Senate seat in 2016 — 1.3 million residents would lose an average of $294 per month in health insurance tax credits and face a remarkable 359 percent premium hike. In Wisconsin — home of Gov. Scott Walker, a probable presidential candidate, and politically vulnerable Sen. Ron Johnson — 166,000 residents would lose an average of $315 in monthly tax credits and face a 252 percent premium increase. In Ohio, a critical presidential swing state and one where Sen. Rob Portman faces re-election, 161,000 people would lose a monthly average of $255 in premium tax credits and face a 190 percent premium hike. (Kapur and Knowles, 6/4)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.