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Delaware Prepares Back-Up Plan In Case SCOTUS Nixes Obamacare Subsidies

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AP Photo / Chris Maddaloni

Landgraf said it remains unclear how an adverse Supreme Court ruling would affect a hybrid marketplace like Delaware's. But Delaware could stand to lose more than $5 million in health insurance subsidies if the Supreme Court rules that the Affordable Care Act does not permit participants on federally-run exchanges to receive tax credits for their insurance premiums. Currently, some 21,000 Delaware residents receive the subsidies, or about 84 percent who have purchased plans on the marketplace, according to Landgraf.

Only 13 states and the District of the Columbia have set up state-run exchanges, and subsidy-recipients in the other 37 states -- some 6.4 million people -- could lose their tax credits if the Supreme Court agrees with the challengers' argument in King v. Burwell.

Pennsylvania, another state that stands to lose its subsidies, is also pursuing a similar option, with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf announcing Tuesday that the state had also submitted an application this week to the federal government to set up its own state-run exchange in place of the federally-run marketplace. Wolf could face opposition setting it up from the state’s Republican-controlled legislature. However, both chambers of Delaware’s state assembly are controlled by Democrats, making it more likely that they would approve the plan if Democratic Gov. Jack Markell sought to move forward with it. "I do believe that the statehouse would agree that subsidies are critically important to their populous, the 21,000 Delawareans that they too will be concerned about," Landgraf said.

About The Author

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Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.