TURNER: King V. Burwell Decision Good News For Texas

830,000+ Texans no longer in jeopardy of losing critical tax credits

ARLINGTON, TX — Today, State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101 – Grand Prairie), who authored contingency legislation to protect more than 830,000 Texans from losing their health insurance tax credits, released the following statement in response to today’s United States Supreme Court decision in the case of King v. Burwell:

“I am glad the Supreme Court agreed that it’s clear that Congress intended for the tax credits to be available to all Americans who purchase health coverage in an exchange and are between 100 – 400 percent of the poverty level, regardless of who runs the exchange.

The impact of a different decision would have been devastating. If the Court had decided in the plaintiffs’ favor, more than 830,000 Texans would have been negatively impacted and would have faced a 300 percent increase in their premium costs. Many would not have been able to afford coverage and would have returned to the ranks of the uninsured – a category in which Texas unfortunately already leads the nation.

Despite non-stop partisan, political attacks on the Affordable Care Act, thousands in our communities and across our state have affordable health insurance coverage. Now that this decision has been made and this issue is behind us, we can move forward and get even more Texans enrolled in affordable health care plans.”

During the 84th Texas Legislative Session, Turner filed contingency legislation to address the need for a state-run health insurance exchange. House Bill 817 would have required the Health and Human Services Commission and the Department of Insurance to create a state-run exchange in the event of a judicial ruling which eliminates tax credits for Texans enrolled in the federal exchange. This bill would give the state the ability to determine which plans are eligible to participate, review rates and determine whether plans include coverage of essential health benefits.

Late in the session, Turner tried to add an amendment identical to House Bill 817 to another bill, but the amendment was defeated on a party line vote.

Based on the number of Texans receiving tax credits as of March 31, 2015, The Kaiser Family Foundation determined that 832,334 Texans would have lost tax credits totaling $205,586,498 per month/$2.5 billion per year. In addition, according to their estimates, premium costs would have increased an estimated 305 percent as a result of lost tax credits.