Highlight on Nebraska: 75,000 Nebraskans could have lost subsidies in Supreme Court decision

Approximately 57,000 Nebraskans were at risk to lose their health insurance subsidies depending on the Supreme Court ruling in King v. Burwell, according to an analysis by Families USA published prior to the release of the Court’s decision upholding such subsidies for plans in the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. The analysis determined that, while Nebraskans on the Health Insurance Marketplace currently pay an average premium of $104 per month after the subsidy, if the subsidies were eliminated, monthly premiums would go up to an average of $354.

Loss of subsidies in Nebraska

King v. Burwell threatened to eliminate premium tax credits provided to customers purchasing health insurance from the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, which is used by 34 states including Nebraska, and, in total, 6.4 million risk losing health insurance, according to the analysis.

Families USA used data broken up based on Nebraska’s three congressional districts. It found that, if the Supreme Court decided to eliminate subsidies from the federal Marketplace, 17,000 in Omaha’s District 2 would have lost their subsidies, as well as 16,000 in Lincoln’s District 1 and 19,000 in District 3, which covers central and western Nebraska.

Reactions

Jessica Herman, the director of research for Omaha’s free-market research organization, the Platte Institute for Economic Research said that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) has made health care less affordable. “The end goal should be solutions that make health care more affordable from the get-go,” she said. “Removing costly mandates and allowing people to purchase the plans they want, including those available before the law, should be the first step to overhauling our broken health care system.”

Nebraska Hospital Association spokesman Adrian Sanchez said that eliminating subsidies would also increase the amount of uncompensated care provided by hospitals and doctors, raising health costs for all. He said, “So, obviously, we’re hoping the Supreme Court sides in favor of Burwell, to keep those subsidies intact.”

Update: Since the original writing of this blog post, the Supreme Court on Thursday, June 25, 2015 issued a 6-3 ruling upholding the availability of premium tax subsidies to individuals who purchased insurance through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, reasoning that, based on the broader structure of the ACA, Congress did not intend to limit the subsidies to state-created Marketplaces.