Without healthy workers, there is no thriving economy. Access to health insurance for everyone is crucial because it improves the worker’s health and finances, all contributing to our economy.
The upcoming Supreme Court decision (King v. Burwell) in June will determine whether the Affordable Care Act will allow subsidies to continue to flow to federally-facilitated health insurance marketplace exchanges. These subsidies are provided in tax credits for the working poor (gross income between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level).
A negative decision would cause people in federally-facilitated exchanges to lose subsidies, meaning they could no longer afford health insurance. From 8 to 10 million Americans would lose their healthcare coverage.
The Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimate premiums in 34 states would increase 35 percent, affecting all residents with or without health insurance. This decision would dramatically impact Texas, with approximately 1.5 million residents left without health insurance.
Good population health is based on prevention and wellness care, with affordable health insurance an integral part in its promotion. Texas policy makers need to understand the importance of these subsidies. We need their support to continue these tax credits, regardless of who operates the details of our health insurance marketplace. There is no time to waste. Rather than wait for a Supreme Court decision this summer, we need policy and bi-partisan efforts now to ensure we protect our Texas residents.