Today, March 4th, is the beginning of oral arguments in the Supreme Court for the case King v Burwell. What's at stake with this case? The tax credits, or subsidies, for consumers in states using the federal marketplace (Healthcare.gov) that helps make healthcare affordable. Nationally, the result of a negative court ruling would mean roughly 9.6 million people being priced out of their health insurance and thus losing it, and even more squeezed by the high cost of their coverage.
Here in Wisconsin there are over 183,000 residents who receive a tax credit to make their health coverage affordable. With an average tax credit in the state $319 per person per month, the loss of these tax credits in Wisconsin would make the average monthly premium more than triple.
Yet this whole issue could completely be avoided in one of two ways - (1) either Congress corrects the one line in the Affordable Care Act that is causing the issue, or (2) Wisconsin could create a state-based marketplace like Minnesota. State-based marketplaces are, even in the worst Supreme Court scenario, completely safe to continue receiving tax credits to provide affordable coverage.
Which is why, also today, Citizen Action of Wisconsin joined Senator Kathleen Vinehout and State Representative Melissa Sargent media call (audio here) to announce a contingency plan to create a state-run marketplace and thus protect the 183,000 Wisconsinites no matter the Supreme Court ruling.
How would this impact Wisconsin at the county level?
|County||Total Healthcare.gov Enrollment||Est. people with tax credits||Annual Tax Credit Amount|
|Adams||800 people||712 people||$2,725,580|
|Fond du Lac||2,933||2,610||$9,992,090|
|Statewide||205,839 people||183,197 people||$701,277,006|
Source - County enrollment distribution based on Dept of Health Services June 2014 enrollment report adjusted for most recent February Healthcare.gov state enrollment numbers. Total tax credits are based on local enrollment and HHS reported average Wisconsin tax credit, annualized.
“It is political malpractice for Governor Walker not to prepare for a predictable disaster which could strip affordable health coverage from over 183,000 Wisconsinites,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “By failing to prepare a Wisconsin health insurance marketplace in the event the Supreme Court makes a damaging decision, Walker is putting at risk the lives and fundamental freedoms of people in every corner of Wisconsin.”