Monday, February 09, 2015

HHS press release puts King v. Burwell in stark relief

Charles Gaba of ACA Signups fame shared a press release from the Health and Human Services Department on Daily Kos yesterday that underlines just what's at stake in the King v. Burwell court case:
For instance: Moments ago, the HHS Dept. of the United States sent out this press release, touting the fact that about 6.5 million people who selected private policies via Healthcare.Gov for 2015 (about 87% of the 7.5 million total confirmed via the federal exchange) qualify to receive tax credits to help cover the cost of their health insurance premiums. The average tax credit for those 6.5 million people is $268/month, or $3,216 per year.
Now, let's do some math on this. If King v. Burwell is decided in favor of its Cato Institute proponents, it will remove all tax subsidies from those who have signed up for qualified health plans under the federal exchange. As of now, with not quite a week left in the open enrollment period, there are 6.5 million people who qualify for an average annual subsidy of $3,216 this year. That comes out to a $20.9 billion tax hike on lower- and middle-income Americans, to say nothing of the systemic havoc it will wreak on the health care system and the number of people who will die because they could no longer afford health insurance. Gaba estimates that the number of subsidy-eligible participants on the federal exchange will end up somewhere near 7.3 million when all is said and done. Presuming the average subsidy remains the same, you would then be looking at a tax hike of roughly $23.5 billion, along with a concomitant increase in deaths and premium death spirals.

Supporting this lawsuit just to deny President Obama a policy success is a really evil thing to do. I'm not quite sure how Michael Cannon can look himself in the mirror every morning.

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