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Nancy Badertscher
By Nancy Badertscher June 15, 2015

Scott correct: majority don't receive premium subsidies

(Editor's note: An earlier version of this fact-check included an incorrect number for the $1.7 billion in monthly tax credits potentially at risk for 6.4 million people in Georgia and 33 other states in the lawsuit King v. Burwell.)


The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule later this month in a lawsuit that could wipe out premium subsidies for millions of Americans under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.


About 6.4 million people in Georgia and 33 other states who use the federal marketplace could be at risk of losing a total of $1.7 billion in monthly tax credits and face net premium increases of 287 percent, according to a state-by-state analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.


Many in the GOP, particularly Tea Party Republicans, are likely to resist extending the subsidies, even temporarily, The Washington Times reported June 5.


Those Republicans are much more worried about angering their base by appearing to concede on Obamacare than they are about having a handful of constituents lose their subsidies, the newspaper said..


"Ninety-seven percent of Americans aren't receiving those subsidies," Georgia Congressman Austin Scott told reporters.


That statistic caught the eye of a PolitiFact reader who asked us to do some checking.

"Is that claim accurate?" the reader wrote.


We promised to do some checking.


First a little background about the closely watched lawsuit, King v. Burwell.


The plaintiff, King, argues that because the health care law refers to "an exchange established by the state," individuals in states with federally run exchanges are not eligible for subsidies.


Others contend that the clear intent of the ACA  -- the most significant overhaul of since passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 --  is to allow individuals to obtain subsidized insurance regardless of whether they obtain it through a state or federal exchange.


Currently, 34 states rely on the federal exchange and could lose subsidies if the Supreme Court rules in favor of King.


Florida could be the most affected, with 1.3 million residents losing monthly subsidies worth a combined $206 million a month, according to forecasts.

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In Georgia, 412,385 people could lose subsidies, with a total monthly value of $113 million, the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis showed.


States such California and New York, which set up their own exchanges, would be untouched by the ruling.


So what about Scott’s statement that 97 percent of Americans aren’t receiving ACA insurance subsidies.

We reached out to Ryann DuRant, Scott’s communications director.


She told us Scott’s statement was based on calculations that were done using data from the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, reports in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and population information from the U.S. Census.


This includes: about 6.4 million people who receive federal subsidies to buy insurance;, estimates of all insurance subsidies, state and federal combined,totalling about nine million; the national  population estimate of about 318 million. (We calculated 2.83 percent or just shy or 3 percent with subsidies, leaving about 97 percent of Americans without subsidies)


We asked the Kaiser Family Foundation in independently run the numbers for us.


Chris Lee, a communications officer with the foundation, said about 2.7 percent of Americans receive ACA tax credits.


His calculation is based on information that slightly more than 8.6 million of the nation’s 321 million residents have received advance premium tax credits, or subsidies, to buy their insurance, Lee said.


That would mean about 97.3 percent of Americans aren’t receiving subsidies to buy insurance.


DuRant told us Scott is co-sponsoring a bill, introduced June 4, to repeal ObamaCare and "address healthcare for all Americans.


"So in no way was this to discount the 3 percent or the 97 percent," she said. ‘We are concerned with 100 percent of Americans and with lowering health insurance premiums for 100 percent of Americans."


The GOP-controlled Congress has repeatedly expressed interest in passing legislation to fully repeal and replace ObamaCare, and Scott’s bill is one of several options that is available.


.Our ruling

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott said 97 percent of Americans don’t receive subsidies for health care under the Affordable Care Act. His numbers are close.


We rate his statement True.


Our Sources

"Why the House might not extend Obamacare subsidies," The Washington Examiner, By Paige Winfield Cunningham, June 5, 2015

"House GOPers: Obamacare Fix? Ha, Our Constituents Don't Get Subsidies!" talking points By Tierney Sneed, June 5, 2015

Phone interview and emails with Ryann DuRant, communications director for U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Georgia


Email with Chris Lee, senior communications officer, Kaiser Family Foundation, Washington D.C.

"State-by-State Effects of a Ruling for the Challengers in King v. Burwell," Kaiser Family Foundation

"New Analysis Details Impact on Residents in Different States If the U.S. Supreme Court Rules for Challengers in King v. Burwell," Kaiser Family Foundation

Premium Tax Credits at Risk in King v. Burwell Supreme Court Decision

"The Health Care Supreme Court Case: Who Would Be Affected?"The New York Times, By Matthew Bloch, Margot Sanger-Katz, K.K. Rebecca Lai and Alicia Parlapiano on June 15, 2015







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Scott correct: majority don't receive premium subsidies

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