Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 10:55 pm
On Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting decisions that could have major ramifications for the future of the Affordable Care Act.
The controversy hinges on whether people in the 36 states that opted NOT to set up their own health insurance exchanges can qualify for subsidies (really, tax credits) on their health insurance premiums. Missouri and Illinois are among those 36 that don't have state-run exchanges.
Missouri has less than 24 hours to decide whether it wants to join with the federal government to set up a health exchange in the state.
Gov. Jay Nixon told U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last November that state law prevents him from moving forward with anything without legislative approval. And, there doesn’t appear to be much traction among state lawmakers.
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill says there will be a political price to pay for state legislators who allow the federal government to run the state’s health insurance exchange.
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, the Democratic Senator said the federal health care law is going to be implemented and the state of the Missouri has the opportunity to get resources from the federal government.
The federal government will set up and manage a health exchange in Missouri. An exchange is an online marketplace where individuals and small businesses will soon shop for health plans. The Affordable Care Act, or obamacare, requires that all states have exchanges up and running by 2014. States have until next week to indicate whether they will run one or not.
Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder has filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Robin Carnahan over the language used in a ballot initiative regarding health care exchanges. The Republican Lt. Governor is accusing the Democratic Secretary of State of trying to deliberately mislead voters.