As those in the know about King v. Burwell anxiously await the U.S. Supreme Court’s verdict in the PPACA insurance premium subsidy case, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute have teamed up for one more worst-case scenario report.
Assuming that the court strikes down the subsidies, RWJ and the institute produced one last “what-if” forecast. This one looks at the collateral damage that subsidy elimination could cause apart from simply pulling coverage out from under the 6.4 million whose premiums would disappear.
Here are its projections:
No. 1: “In 2016, the number of uninsured people would be 8.2 million higher than it otherwise would have been.”
Wait, you say: Wasn’t the number receiving subsidized premiums 6.4 million?
That’s correct. But many more among the insured would probably drop coverage because the loss of the 6.4 million would cause premiums to rise by an average of 55 percent for everyone else. And some folks just won’t be able to afford that kind of increase.
No. 2: “The size of the private nongroup insurance markets in the affected states would drop by about 70 percent due to the loss of financial assistance.”
Another fall-out of the subsidy loss, these markets will be hit hard because premiums will increase across the board for those without insurance premium subsidies. The pool of insured would also be at a higher cost, the study says, presumably because many young, healthy people who were subsidized will vanish from the pool.
No. 3: “Spending on behalf of those becoming uninsured would fall by 35 percent.”