How Iowa Can Keep Its Healthcare Subsidies

Nov 20, 2014

Dr. Pete Damiano at Iowa Public Radio to discuss insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act on the talk show “River to River."
Credit IPR/John Pemble

The result of an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case may stop federal subsidies to some 30,000 Iowans who have bought insurance on Iowa’s state-federal partnership exchange.

Regardless of the ruling in King vs. Burwell, individuals who purchased insurance through state-based exchanges won't be affected. 

However a new website might provide an easy fix for states that would otherwise lose funding. 

"You would go to a state website and be able to login, and then you'd literally be diverted behind the scenes to the federal healthcare.gov," says Pete Damiano, director of the University of Iowa's Public Policy Center.  Damiano adds until the high court rules, it won't be clear whether this is a viable solution.

Additionally, while some might argue that Iowa should establish its own, state-based insurance exchange so as to keep federal subsidies, Damiano says the long-term advantages of 50 state-based exchanges aren’t clear.

"Do you need to have 50 online systems, is that part more or less mechanical?" Damiano asks. 

Enrollment under the Affordable Care Act opened this past Saturday, for people seeking to obtain health insurance through online exchanges.

Registration goes through Feb. 15.