BRADENTON – Nearly a million Floridians would lose almost $5 billion in the government subsidies that help people afford insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act, if a federal appeals court decision rendered Tuesday is upheld.
Without the subsidies, Floridians who obtain policies through the federal exchange would see their premiums rise by an average of 80-95 percent, according to a new report by Avalere Health. The only state that is estimated to face a bigger impact is Texas, whose residents receive over five and a half billion dollars in such subsidies.
The U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit ruled in Halbig vs. Burwell that the federal government is not authorized by the law to offer subsidies to citizens of 34 states (including Florida) who must use the exchange because their state did not comply with the law's directive to set one up.
However another three-judge panel on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., issued a contradictory ruling just hours later. The White House said that policyholders will keep getting the assistance until the legal implications are decided.
The administration will now ask the full 11-member U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to hear the case. That court includes seven judges who were appointed by Democratic presidents, four of whom were appointed by President Obama himself.
Should the court of appeals decline to hear the case, it would likely be taken up by the Supreme Court.
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