Most Americans believe Congress should make health insurance subsidies available in all states should the Supreme Court restrict the use of federal tax credits to help purchase coverage.
The findings come from a poll released Jan. 28 by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The results show that few people are paying attention to the pending King v. Burwell, but that nearly two-thirds of patients think Congress should take action if the high court eliminates use of the tax credits. A majority of people in states that use the federal marketplace want their state to create its own marketplace if the Supreme Court limits federal subsidies.
The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments March 4 in the high profile case of King v. Burwell . Justices will weigh whether residents in states that rely on the federal marketplace are eligible for tax credits to purchase insurance, or whether such assistance can only go to residents with state-run marketplaces.
Estimates vary on how many Americans could lose subsidies in 2016 if the high court strikes down the financial assistance. An Urban Institute analysis estimated that just over 6 million people would lose coverage – 61% would be non-Hispanic white, 81% would work full- or part-time, and 82% would have modest incomes, but not be considered poor.
According to a study by the Rand. Corp., individual-market enrollment would decline by an estimated 70%, or 10 million people, if subsidies are eliminated.
As the Supreme Court prepares to hear the case, 34% of adults in states with the federal or partnership marketplaces are aware their state uses the federal marketplace, while 39% believe their state operates its own exchange (28% don’t know), according to the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. In contrast, most people (63%) in states operating their own exchange are aware that theirs is a state-run marketplace, while about 17% think their state uses the federal marketplace (19% don’t know). More than half of those surveyed said they’ve never heard about the Burwell case.
The Kaiser survey analyzed the responses of 1,503 adults from Jan. 15 through Jan. 21 among a nationally representative random digit dial telephone sample. The combined landline and cell phone sample was weighted to match estimates for the national population using data from the Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey and data from the 2010 Census on population density.
Overall views of the ACA haven’t changed much in the past few months, the survey found. Forty-six percent of people have an unfavorable opinion of the law, while 40% have a favorable opinion. Among uninsured respondents, 60% were unaware that the deadline to enroll in health insurance under the ACA is Feb. 15.
A large number of those surveyed said that they oppose legislation that would change the ACA’s employer coverage threshold for a full-time worker from 30 hours to 40 hours per week: 40% opposed the change while 26% supported it, and 34% said they did not know enough to comment.
On Twitter @legal_med