What King v. Burwell means for Colorado
The Supreme Court ruling upholding insurance subsidies through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) takes another step toward cementing the act as the law of the land. In a paper released on June 25, the Colorado Health Institute analyzes the ruling, what it means for Colorado and what’s next in health care policy.
The King case has focused attention on the key role states play in implementing the ACA and paves the way for a more targeted discussion of ensuring that having health insurance means having access to affordable and effective health care.
The Colorado Health Institute identified four questions for Colorado policymakers to answer in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision.
1. Can Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s online insurance marketplace, stand on its own feet? The King ruling would not directly have affected Colorado residents because the legislature in 2011 established a state exchange. However, the stability of Connect for Health Colorado, which is struggling with deficits, remains a priority.
2. Are there opportunities to use Connect for Health Colorado to help other states? Despite technical glitches, Connect for Health Colorado is a resource that most states lack – a functioning health insurance exchange that does not rely on the federal healthcare.gov site. If the marketplaces case motivates states on the federal exchange to build their own exchanges, Connect for Health Colorado could offer help in a number of ways.
3. How could Colorado use a 1332 waiver to improve health care for its residents? State innovations waivers provided one response to the King case that policy experts considered in the weeks before the ruling. These 1332 waivers, named for a section of the ACA, allow states to waive major parts of the ACA, as long as they cover as many people as the ACA at no additional cost.
4. What is the future of the ACA? The ACA won a major victory at the Supreme Court, but its future still is not certain. It could face political and judicial challenges in the near future. CHI anticipates that health policy attention, both in Colorado and nationally, will turn to ensuring that the ACA is implemented efficiently and fairly.
For more information, go to the CHI website, www.coloradohealthinstitute.org.