Ruling against subsidies could hurt hospitals

A U.S. District Court judge's decision that may strike down the Obama administration's ability to set money aside for insurance subsidies on the exchange could wind up hurting hospitals the most.

The decision, made by U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer, was a victory for the House of Representatives. It had sued the Obama administration, claiming it did not have the right to appropriate tax subsidies to help consumers purchase insurance without Congressional approval.

If the decision stands, it could force millions of Americans off their insurance plans. As a result, hospitals could wind up treating more uninsured patients, according to Bloomberg.

"The hospitals are the ones that really stand to lose the most from any potential repeal of Obamacare," Jason McGorman, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, told the wire service. "They have to treat the patients no matter what."

The Affordable Care Act has been a boon regarding reducing the amount of uncompensated care: It dropped by nearly $6 billion in 2014, although much of that occurred in states that also expanded Medicaid eligibility.

Bloomberg noted that the decision, which is on hold for now pending an appeal, caused the stocks of the major for-profit hospital chains to fall. Community Health Systems dropped 11 percent in value, while Tenet Healthcare Corp. dropped nearly 10 percent, and HCA holdings Inc., declined by more than 3 percent.

Even if the lawsuit drags on for a period, there is also a possibility that if a Republican is elected president, that the new administration could elect to quash the subsidies as well.

To learn more:
- read the Bloomberg article