U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) released the following statement after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals' unanimous ruling that upholds Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium tax credits in federal health insurance exchanges; earlier today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against the tax credits. The conflicting rulings create uncertainty for Wisconsinites due to Governor Scott Walker's decision to allow the federal government, instead of the State, to operate Wisconsin's exchange:
"I applaud the Fourth Circuit's unanimous ruling today but the fact remains that Governor Walker could eliminate any uncertainty for Wisconsinites by creating a state-based health care exchange to ensure that coverage will remain affordable through premium tax credits, regardless of what any court decides.
"Originally, 79,000 Wisconsinites were projected to sign up for coverage during open enrollment. We've now had more than 133,000 Wisconsinites enroll in coverage through the health care exchange, and 90% of them qualify for tax credits. Those with tax credits who chose the popular "silver' plans paid an average of only $103 per month.
"These are people who now know the security and peace of mind that comes with having health insurance but are facing uncertainty created by Governor Walker and the courts. By working with the Department of Health and Human Services to create a state health insurance Marketplace, Gov. Walker could ensure that consumers don't lose premium tax credits and their affordable coverage because of future court action. If Gov. Walker fails to act and the Supreme Court decides to eliminate tax credits in the federal insurance Marketplace, premiums for these Wisconsinites are projected to increase by more than 70%.
"This all could have been avoided had he set up a state exchange two years ago, but he still has time to correct this mistake.Instead of doing everything he can to take affordable, quality health care coverage away from Wisconsinites, Governor Walker should be working to ensure that no one loses the coverage they currently have."