NPR reported today that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments during its Spring Session against one of the core features of the Affordable Care Act: subsidies and tax breaks for people who need assistance affording coverage. Specifically the challenge targets people in states who have no state-run exchange, but instead partner with the federal exchange to offer coverage.
As someone who has had no income for the past 18 months, no remaining COBRA coverage, and no option to buy insurance on the private market due to being diabetic (insurance companies hate diabetics), this is just a bit concerning. As reported by NPR:
Timothy Jost, a Washington & Lee law professor... explains that because the provisions of the health care law are so interconnected, a ban on subsidies in 36 states would have cascading effects. Not only would millions of Americans see their premiums jump as much as 75 percent, but employers in those states would no longer face penalties for failure to provide employee health insurance, and the individual mandate would be greatly weakened.
I live in Ohio, where Republican Governor John Kasich was just reelected, and we're one of those 36 states that has no state-run exchange. In our case that's not because we made a choice to partner with the federal government, but because Kasich and the Republican-run legislature fought tooth and nail to keep the ACA out of Ohio. Luckily for my health they lost that fight, but it looks like Kasich and the rest of the opponents of the ACA are going to get another chance to sling mud.
It continually stuns me that people are able to ignore the social justice aspect of the Affordable Care Act and dismiss it under the heading of "big government subsidy." I've been incredibly privileged for most of my life, and had continuous health care coverage throughout childhood and into adulthood. That's largely due to parents who had good union jobs that provided health care through college, and my own hard work to overcome disability, graduate college and work my way up the ladder in the software industry after that. Since becoming disabled again I've only been able to maintain coverage by switching from my expensive COBRA coverage to a less expensive option on the Federal Exchange. Now I get to hear yet again from the people who hate the ACA how if I just buckled down, worked harder, and was determined to get ahead I'd be able to work and get insurance through my employer. Oh joy.