WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Five Republican state governors say they will not rescue a crucial part of Obamacare if it is struck down by the Supreme Court, underlining the prospect for a chaotic aftermath to a ruling that could force millions of Americans to pay much more for coverage or lose their health insurance. The Supreme Court is due to hear opening arguments in the case known as King v. Burwell on March 4, marking the second major challenge to President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) after the justices ruled in 2012 against a claim that it was unconstitutional. The latest case tests the tax-credit subsidies at the core of Obamacare.
In its ruling expected by June, the high court could bar the federally run insurance marketplace from providing the subsidies in at least 34 states. That could throw the insurance system into turmoil as states respond in starkly different ways. In response to Reuters’ queries, spokespeople for the Republican governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina and Wisconsin said the states were not willing to create a local exchange to keep subsidies flowing. Republicans argue that Obamacare is unacceptable government intervention that raises costs for consumers and businesses.
“State exchanges are the federal government’s way of sticking states with the cost and responsibility of a massive new bureaucratic programme,” said Chaney Adams, a spokeswoman for South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.