Palmetto Sunrise: Health care premiums hang in balance of Supreme Court case for thousands in S.C.

Health insurance shoppers who use may not qualify for federal subsidies if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs in the upcoming King v. Burwell case. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

The state’s decision not to set up a health insurance exchange and the technical wording of the Affordable Care Act might combine this summer to send hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians’ premiums surging.

It all depends on the Supreme Court.

Obamacare customers in South Carolina who get subsidized insurance — there are nearly 200,000 — could see their premiums quadruple if the high court decides the financial aid they receive is illegal, Lauren Sausser of The Post and Courier reports.

The case hinges on how the law is worded. It says the federal government can only help cover customers’ bills if they bought insurance through a state-run marketplace. Like a majority of states, South Carolina doesn’t have its own exchange.

The Haley administration, which initially declined to set up a state marketplace, is standing by that decision.

“They thought it was the right decision then,” said Department of Insurance Director Ray Farmer, a Cabinet official. “They think it’s the right decision now.”

In other news...

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham was one of three Republicans on Thursday who voted for attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch.

Hundreds of people, including Gov. Nikki Haley, gathered to argue against cuts to Fort Jackson in Columbia, the Army’s largest training site.

Presidential hopefuls are making their pitches at CPAC, an annual gathering of conservatives that’s now underway. Graham isn’t attending.

S.C. State trustees say lawmakers have made them “scapegoats” for the school’s financial troubles.

The state Supreme Court halted a long-running case over the estate of James Brown.

The court also cut in half the penalty Johnson & Johnson will have to pay for improperly marketing the drug Risperdal and hiding its risks. The company owes $136 million.