Washington DC – Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, tens of thousands of Granite Staters have gained access to quality, affordable health care. But that could all be undone if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell, a lawsuit that seeks to do away with premium tax credits that have helped millions of Americans purchase health coverage through the federal insurance marketplace in about three dozen states, including New Hampshire. Despite the fact that the life-saving health coverage of nearly 40,000 New Hampshirites hangs in the balance of the decision, Senator Kelly Ayotte has had little to say on the matter, except to remind voters of her overall opposition to the ACA. Ayotte is currently is a co-sponsor of legislation fully repealing the health law and all its new consumer protections and prescription drug benefits for seniors. On the heels of welcome news this week that over 10 million Americans have enrolled in health plans under the ACA and 9-in-10 Americans now have coverage, Americans United for Change, a pro-healthcare group that has aired numerous ads in support of the ACA, challenged Senator Ayotte to explain to her constituents how exactly she plans to protect the health security of Granite Staters if the Supreme Court strikes down a crucial component to the law’s success. Does Ayotte have a contingency plan for the Granite Staters who will no longer be able to afford health coverage without these critical tax credits and cost-sharing reductions – or for the rest of New Hampshire’s health consumers whose premiums will spike in the process? Does she even care?
Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Change: “While most legal scholars agree that this case against the health law has no merit, the Supreme Court that gave us the disastrous Citizens United decision could again choose to put politics above of the law and strip away health care from nearly 10 million Americans, including 5 million children and 40,000 New Hampshirites. If it unfortunately comes to that and Congress does not act to fix it and fix it fast, the hospital industry has warned of "a widespread and massive disruption … to the entire health care system nationwide." And it seems Senator Ayotte will be all too happy to sit by and watch the fire burn. But the consequences would extend far beyond just those who would lose their health coverage and become more vulnerable to medical bankruptcy – beyond the estimated 10,000 additional Americans who would die each year because of lost coverage. All consumers of health care will pay a price in the form of higher premiums following a surge in uncompensated emergency room care as millions of Americans suddenly lose health coverage. In fact, studies predict that individual market premiums will skyrocket up to 47 percent.
“Considering Senator Ayotte is actively trying to unravel the entire health law, don’t Granite Staters deserve to know what her detailed replacement plan is in case the Supreme Court introduces chaos and uncertainly into the marketplace in the coming days? We know Ayotte is a co-sponsor of legislation to make legal again the worst insurance industry practices like dropping people when they get sick or denying coverage to kids born with pre-existing conditions. Or was going back to the broken system where insurance companies come between patients and doctors her only plan all along?”
THE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE THE SUPREME COURT RULES FOR THE PLAINTIFFS IN KING V. BURWELL [SOURCE: Center for American Progress]
Nearly 40,000 New Hampshirites would lose their insurance. According to the Urban Institute, 37,000 New Hampshirites would be unable to afford their health insurance coverage and would become uninsured if the U.S. Supreme Court repeals the tax credits available under the Affordable Care Act in the federal marketplaces.
Overall, nearly 45,000 New Hampshirites would lose an average of $2,620 in tax credits and cost-sharing reductions. According to the Urban Institute, 44,000 people would lose an average of $2,620 in tax credits and cost-sharing reductions—a total of $116 million—if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs.
Nearly 50,000 New Hampshirites have selected a marketplace plan. As of January 16, 2015, 46,642 New Hampshirites have selected a marketplace plan.