King v. Burwell: Impact on healthcare industry

King v. Burwell Supreme Court case: What you need to know [Special Report]

By Dori Zweig

The healthcare industry has long warned of the potential "death spiral" should the high court rule in favor of the plaintiffs. If subsidies disappear, sicker individuals will enter the open market. Insurers will lose their healthy members and will be forced to increase their premiums--possibly by as much as 47 percent.   

"It would damage the entire healthcare system, since the markets are integrated. Premiums will rise dramatically everywhere, and ultimately, affect everyone," Danielle Gray, former assistant to the president and cabinet secretary, said on a recent call with healthcare industry reporters.

However, the Affordable will not cease to exist. Other provisions within the healthcare reform law--such as the individual mandate and employer mandate--may pick up the slack in a post-subsidies industry. Both mandates would still require individuals to obtain coverage and employers to offer coverage; the market would just have to overcompensate to pay for the influx of new consumers.  

Between the March 4 oral arguments and the Supreme Court decision later this spring, expect a lot of speculation. As for the final ruling, we'll just have to wait and see. 

Related Articles:
Ruling: Subsidies available on both federal and state exchanges
Court rules subsidies legal in all states, on both exchanges
Appeals courts disagree on whether ACA subsidies are legal
Federal judge rules against ACA subsidies
Panel: ACA will not disappear should Supreme Court side with King v. Burwell plaintiffs
States, not Congress, will likely pick up slack after King v. Burwell
Briefs: King v. Burwell ruling against subsidies would be 'devastating'