By Rose Hoban
Sometime later this month, the Supreme Court will be ruling on a case that few people have noticed but that could affect millions.
What’s at stake in the case is the provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows people purchasing insurance on the online exchanges to receive tax subsidies to help pay for their insurance premiums.
The case is King v. Burwell.
On one side are lawyers from the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute representing plaintiffs who say the phrase “established by a state” means that only tax credits that are given out on exchanges created by individual states are allowed.
On the other is Sylvia Matthews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services for Barack Obama since June 2014.
The plaintiffs (the King side) argue that in states such as North Carolina, which uses the federal insurance exchange, those subsidies are invalid.
A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs could eliminate subsidies in North Carolina and 33 other states. Last year, more than 562,000 North Carolinians bought coverage on the federal exchange; 92 percent of those people were eligible for some level of subsidy to help pay their premiums.
Nationwide, more than 4 million people in states that did not establish their own insurance exchanges are at risk of losing their subsidies if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs.
The left-leaning Families USA has prepared this infographic showing where North Carolinians who risk losing their insurance subsidies live and who represents them in Congress.