Yesterday’s US Supreme Court decision to uphold taxpayer subsidies on healthcare.gov brought a collective sigh of relief to Pennsylvanians, like Barbara, who depend on subsidies to make health insurance somewhat affordable. But lost in much of the news coverage are the losers, like Mark, who still can’t afford his premiums. In fact, there are ten times as many losers as winners thanks to the court’s decision.
Had the court ruled federal subsidies illegal, more than 460,000 Pennsylvanians would have been freed of the individual mandate tax due to an affordability exemption. Likewise, employers would have been freed of the employer mandate. The American Action Forum estimated the exemptions would have added 62,693 to the workforce by 2017.
Broadly speaking, no one wins under the Obamacare status quo. Instead of health insurance premiums going down, as promised, they’ve increased. Even Pennsylvanians with highly subsidized exchange plans are bracing for large rate hikes. Some exchange insurers are asking for premium increases of more than 50 percent next year. Add in the burden of high deductibles, and one has to question exactly how the Affordable Care Act is making health care more affordable.
Even people receiving subsidies want to see major changes to the law.
It’s now up to Congress to deliver the type of consumer-centered reforms that will give Pennsylvanians more choices, lower rates and better access to quality care.