On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies are illegal in any state that did not set up their own federal insurance exchange. Not all states fall into that category, but many—36 to be exact—do. In those states, Americans would be barred from receiving subsidies if the Halbig decision stands. That would send costs skyrocketing for millions of Americans. Avalere Health examined how such a ruling would affect each state and found that average premiums would rise 76 percent on average, though it would vary by state:
It’s far from certain that the ruling will stand. In fact, the Fourth Circuit Court ruled just a few hours later that the subsidies are legal. In all likelihood, the cases will head to the Supreme Court. But if the justices uphold Halbig and rule the subsidies illegal, it will increase the costs of health insurance for millions of Americans. As Larry Levitt, the Senior Vice President of the Kaiser Family Foundation, pointed out on Twitter, more Americans would be exempt from the individual mandate if Halbig stands. They could forego health insurance and not pay a penalty for the government. But many of these Americans aren’t buying insurance to avoid the mandate. They are buying it because they want insurance. For many, Halbig would make it unaffordable.
Danny Vinik is a staff writer at The New Republic.