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Governors weigh what PPACA ruling could mean for their states

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(Bloomberg Politics) — With a Supreme Court decision on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) premium subsidies on the horizon, governors are bracing themselves, weighing what states that refused to help create PPACA exchanges might do if a ruling affects access to premium subsidies in those states.

The country’s governors, who traveled to Washington this weekend for the annual National Governors Association, met Sunday with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell. 

See also: John Kasich: Ohio will ‘have to figure something out’ if Supreme Court ends PPACA subsidies.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, chairman of the National Governors Association, said that one question that governors have been asking is whether states that run their own marketplaces can cover residents of other states.

“This is new ground,” said Hickenlooper, a Democrat who opted for setting up a state-based exchange. “I don’t think anyone understands exactly what the alternatives are, depending on how the ruling comes.”

The high court is hearing a case involving PPACA exchange plan premium subsidies. It could eliminate subsidies for millions of people in states in which the government has refused to help create a PPACA exchange.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, the NGA vice chairman, said he hoped there would be time for states to adjust if the court rules against the administration.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican who opted not to establish a state marketplace, said that an alternative may need to be crafted.

See also: Republicans propose group health exclusion cap.

“There’s an old saying that you can’t beat a program without a program, and we’re going to be working closely with members of Congress and governors around the country to have an alternative ready if the Supreme Court makes the right decision,” he said.

The case before the Supreme Court is King vs. Burwell, 14-114.

See also: 10 states where the Supreme Court may help short-term health sales.