- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

About 6.4 million people could lose their Obamacare subsidies if the Supreme Court rules against the administration later this month, according to an official update Tuesday that said more than 10 million Americans had effectuated their coverage by paying their premiums through the end of March.

The Health and Human Services Department said 10.2 million of the 11.7 million people who selected plans on the law’s health exchanges during Obamacare’s last round of sign-ups had paid up through March 31.

Among them, 8.7 million received tax credits that averaged $272 per month, including 6.4 million in the 34 states that rely on the federal HealthCare.gov portal and could be affected by the justices’ decision in a case known as King v. Burwell.

Plaintiffs in the closely watched challenge say the IRS is unlawfully paying out subsidies to people who bought coverage on the federal exchange, since the law called for tax credits on exchanges “established by the state.”

Congressional Republicans have cheered the suit on. They see it as a chance to hobble Obamacare and replace it with their preferred reforms, although pressure is on the GOP to produce a plan that “rescues” affected Americans without bolstering President Obama’s signature law.

The Obama administration says Congress never intended to treat states different under the 2010 law. It insists it doesn’t need a backup plan because it feels it should prevail before the court.

For now, the administration says its pleased that the number of paying customers exceeds its self-imposed goal of 9.1 million customers for 2015.

“The health insurance marketplaces are working,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans now rely on the health and financial security that comes from affordable coverage through the marketplaces.”

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