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Obamacare Ruling by the Numbers: 4.7 Million People Could Lose Subsidies

People in Miami lining up in March to learn about insurance options under the Affordable Care Act
People in Miami lining up in March to learn about insurance options under the Affordable Care Act Photograph by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal appeals court panel ruled on Tuesday that the Affordable Care Act doesn’t allow the U.S. government to help people buy insurance; only states can do that. “We conclude that the ACA unambiguously restricts [subsidies] to insurance purchased on Exchanges ‘established by the State,’” the judges wrote (PDF). Since 36 states decided not to establish Obamacare marketplaces, residents in those places will lose the federal help they expect to get if the ruling stands.

The case, Halbig v. Burwell, is headed to appeal and could end up before the Supreme Court. If Tuesday’s ruling is upheld, however, the scope of disruption will be staggering. It would gut Obamacare in states that chose not to participate. Here’s a look at the potential fallout, by the numbers: