As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a case that could prove to be a fatal blow against the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, a new study has concluded that the consequences of striking down the law's subsidies for low- and middle-income individuals will result in a sharp drop in the number of Americans with health insurance, as well as a steep rise in premiums.
The Rand Corp. report, titled The Effect of Eliminating the Affordable Care Act's Tax Credits in Federally Facilitated Marketplaces, finds that "individual market enrollment would decline by more than 70 percent, or 9.6 million."
In addition, the report from the non-partisan think-tank concluded that unsubsidized individual premiums in the markets using Healthcare.gov would increase by 47 percent.
Dismantling Obamacare has been a priority for many in the Republican Party, and many court observers believe that the decision in the King v. Burwell case will do just that. Simply put, without the law's tax subsidies, many poor Americans simply would no longer be able to afford purchasing their health insurance through the Healthcare.gov exchanges, the report concludes.
"The disruption would cause significant instability and threaten the viability of the individual health insurance market in the states involved," Christine Eibner, the study's senior author said in a statement. "Our analysis confirms just how much the subsidies are an essential component to the functioning of the ACA-compliant individual market."
Not every Republican is dancing on Obamacare's grave just yet. Prospective presidential candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said that his state would be powerless to help those who would lose insurance if the Supreme Court nixes the subsidies.
"It would create an urgent problem across the country—not just in Wisconsin," Walker told the the Milwaukee Business Journal.
The court is expected to issue its ruling in July.