Major healthcare players show support for keeping subsidies in all states

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Some of the healthcare industry's major groups and systems have submitted friend-of-the-court briefs in King v. Burwell, the case that will determine whether people in all states will receive health insurance subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In November 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, a lawsuit challenging the legality of subsidies under the PPACA. The PPACA states tax subsidies for health insurance are to be provided "through an exchange established by the state." Based on the text of the law, lawsuits were filed challenging an IRS regulation that allows for subsidies in all states.

If the high court decides subsidies can only be provided to residents of states that established their own exchanges, it "would be a disaster for millions of lower- and middle-income Americans," the American Hospital Association, joined by the Federation of American Hospitals, Association of American Medical Colleges, and America's EssentialHospitals, argued in their brief.

Approximately 9.5 million Americans had either chosen a health plan or were automatically reenrolled in one through the federal or a state insurance marketplace as of mid-January. If the subsidies are blocked, "The ranks of uninsured will swell again, with all that portends in the way of untreated illness and overwhelming debt," the groups stated in their brief.

Nineteen deans and more than 80 faculty members from schools of public health and public health programs across the nation also submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in the case. They argued a ruling eliminating the subsidies would "put millions of people at risk for illness and death that could have been prevented or managed with the appropriate medical care." 

Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health also submitted a brief. The system supports subsidies being provided in all states. However, if the court decides to withdraw the subsidies, Trinity Health wants the court to delay the implementations until the end of the plan year, according to the system's friend-of-the-court brief. That would give Congress an opportunity to amend the law if necessary.

The case is set to be heard by the Supreme Court March 4

More articles on healthcare industry lawsuits:

White House says GOP healthcare lawsuit is 'incoherent'
Cleveland Clinic accused of Medicare fraud in False Claims Act lawsuit
HCA hospital hit with whistle-blower lawsuit alleging fraud

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