By the end of June the U.S. Supreme Court will announce its decision in the King vs. Burwell case on the legality of tax subsidies for participants in federally facilitated Health Insurance Marketplaces, impacting 34 states including Illinois. The nation has been eagerly awaiting this ruling since the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in early March. A negative ruling will affect more than 230,000 Illinoisans and millions of people nationally.
IHA and the hospital community have been strong supporters of health insurance coverage for many years, and we have serious concerns about the potential loss of $600 million (annually) of Health Insurance Marketplace subsidies for Illinoisans.
As your trusted voice—the most influential voice for Illinois health care—IHA is ready and prepared to work with key stakeholders, including the Governor, his Administration and the General Assembly on making sure access to quality health care for Illinoisans is maintained, including making sure that these critical health insurance subsidies continue.
Not only have we developed and distributed a position paper on the King v. Burwell case, we have constructed a Key Considerations paper, outlining potential approaches and options for establishing a state-based exchange so subsidies can continue if the Supreme Court rules against them. We have outlined for stakeholders the key elements and options for a state-based exchange, to help facilitate the state moving efficiently to a state-based exchange, if the state needs or wants to move in that direction.
While establishing a state-based exchange is one option, we first must look to Congress to take action to continue the subsidies. Congress must find a reasonable solution – one that does not undermine the Affordable Care Act, e.g., by eliminating the individual and employer mandates – but a solution that ensures and maintains access to quality health care.
Over the past few months, IHA has been preparing for the Supreme Court ruling by having thoughtful conversations with the state’s Congressional Delegation, the Governor’s Administration, state legislative leaders and other key legislators. We have raised this issue with the media. We have knocked on doors and walked down hallways to make sure that key stakeholders know that we are ready to work with them on a moment’s notice to develop a viable solution.
The waiting is almost over, but our work is never done. IHA will continue to advocate for our members and the patients and communities they serve so that together we can continue on our transformation journey of providing affordable, high-quality care to all Illinoisans.