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Health

No “Plan B” For Kansas If High Court Rules Against Obamacare Subsidies

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Jeff Kubina, flickr Creative Commons
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Some states are scrambling to make sure that citizens can still get federal subsidies for buying health insurance, no matter how the Supreme Court rules in a pending case. But as the Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson reports, Kansas has no back-up plan.

The Supreme Court is weighing whether a flaw in the wording of the Affordable Care Act means subsidies are not legal in the 34 states that rely on the federal health insurance exchange known as the marketplace.

Pennsylvania and Delaware are taking steps to keep using the federal website, but to play a role in administering the exchange. This federal-state partnership is meant to allow subsidies to continue in those states, if the high court rules against the federal exchange.

The Kansas Insurance Department’s legislative liaison, Clark Schultz, says it’s not clear whether that will comply with the pending Supreme Court ruling.

"I think that's a viable solution in states where the Legislature would adopt that," Schultz says.

But Kansas is not such a state. A statement released by the health committee chairs in the Kansas House and Senate says Kansas will not back down from its refusal to establish a state-based health insurance exchange. That’s backed up by a letter signed by 70 Republican lawmakers.