JLF Katherine Restrepo Obamacare Expert on June Supremes Ruling Impact on NC

JLF expert says Obamacare ruling will have major N.C. impact
Restrepo available to comment on March 4 Supreme Court hearing

Katherine Restrepo


 RALEIGH -- The federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, heads to the U.S. Supreme Court again on Wednesday. Justices will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a case in which plaintiffs seek to have the health care law operate as written.

If the court sides with the plaintiffs, Obamacare subsidies would end in states with no state-based health insurance exchange. The result for North Carolina could be "insurance upheaval," according to Katherine Restrepo, John Locke Foundation Health and Human Services Policy Analyst. 

Restrepo recently previewed the case for Forbes readers. "Should the court's final ruling in June deem that subsidy distribution in federal exchanges is illegal, what will this mean for North Carolina?" Restrepo asks in her Forbes column.

"Since these subsidies are tied to the individual mandate along with the bipartisan-panned employer mandate, over 10,000 large employers, 2.5 million employees, and 400,000 individuals in the Tar Heel State could indeed be liberated from these penalties.

"Let me explain. In a state-based exchange -- where subsidies are legal -- if an employer with 50 or more full-time workers does not provide health insurance and one of the employees purchases an exchange plan on his own and qualifies for a subsidy, then the employer is hit with a penalty. Receiving a subsidy triggers a tax on the employer. However, for federal exchange states the absence of subsidies would eliminate the law's tax on employers who do not provide health coverage for their workers.

"Outrage would also ensue," Restrepo adds. "No subsidies mean that millions of citizens would be exposed to the full cost of Obamacare health insurance premiums."

The Republican congressional majority would have more opportunities to negotiate with President Obama on this "unworkable law," Restrepo said. 

"Medical care can certainly be more affordable with fewer of the taxes and regulatory requirements Obamacare currently imposes," she said. "And there are ways that insurance companies can compete for individuals with pre-existing conditions by offering portable, secure, guaranteed renewable policies.

"A popular proposal co-sponsored by our very own U.S. Sen. Richard Burr advises the repeal of all 20 Obamacare taxes and fees that economically burden employers, insurance companies, medical device companies, individuals, and the like. Instead, it proposes to liberalize the exchanges (liberalization in the good sense) so that insurers can be more flexible with the products they offer."

For more information, please contact Katherine Restrepo at (610) 698-9653 orkrestrepo@johnlocke.org. To arrange an interview, contact Mitch Kokai at (919) 306-8736 ormkokai@johnlocke.org.