via Wall Street Journal
A push in states to protect consumers’ insurance tax credits in the face of a Supreme Court challenge is losing steam because of political and practical obstacles to reworking the health law’s exchanges, raising the stakes in the court battle.
At issue are subsidies for millions of consumers under the Affordable Care Act that make health plans cheaper. In 37 mostly Republican-controlled states, the federal government has a hand in running the exchanges where consumers buy insurance. About 4.7 million people in those states got billions of dollars of tax credits to offset the cost of insurance premiums for 2014, and more are expected to get them this year.
The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in March over a legal challenge that contends the 2010 law only allows people to get tax credits for coverage bought through a state-run exchange. A decision is expected in the summer.
If the court were to invalidate the credits, people who currently get them could see their monthly premiums spike hundreds of dollars within a few weeks, creating immediate turmoil and calls for fixes by consumers, insurers and hospitals in affected states. With most of those states unlikely to move swiftly to take over their exchanges, decisions over the health law’s future would likely involve negotiations between President Barack Obama and Congress, which is controlled by Republicans opposed to the law…
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