The Obama administration’s top health care official said Wednesday that if the Supreme Court stopped the payment of health insurance subsidies to millions of Americans, it would be up to Congress and state officials to devise a solution.
“The critical decisions will sit with Congress and states and governors,” Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, said at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee.
If the Supreme Court rules against the government in King v. Burwell, insurance subsidies available under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will evaporate in the thirty-four states that have refused to establish their own health-care exchanges. The pain could be felt within weeks. Without subsidies, an estimated eight or nine million people stand to lose their health coverage. Because sicker people will retain coverage at a much higher rate than healthier people, insurance premiums in the individual market will surge by as much as fifty percent.
President Barack Obama declared Tuesday that his 5-year-old health care law is firmly established as the “reality” of health care in America, even as he awaits a Supreme Court ruling that could undermine it.
“This is now part of the fabric of how we care for one another,” he said.
Obama defended the health care overhaul during an address to the Catholic Health Association Conference in Washington, just days ahead of an anticipated decision by the Supreme Court that could eliminate health care for millions of people.
Obama poked fun at opponents who have issued “unending Chicken Little warnings” about what would happen if the law passed. None of those predictions have come true, Obama argued.
President Obama reentered the political battle over healthcare Tuesday, delivering an extended defense of the Affordable Care Act as the Supreme Court prepares to issue its ruling on a case that could strip away health insurance from millions of Americans.
Every day there seems to be another article focused on how many individuals might lose their subsidies if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs in the King v. Burwell case.
Yet, an even bigger group of individuals harmed by Obamacare has an equally good claim for relief that hasn’t gotten as much attention—the people who, thanks to Obamacare, must pay more for health insurance but who never got subsidies.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday declined to discuss the details of a Republican backup plan for ObamaCare, saying that the party will be ready if the Supreme Court rules against the healthcare law.
“We’ll have a plan that makes sense for the American people,” the Republican leader said during an interview with The Joe Elliott Show. “If the plaintiff is successful it will require some addressing of the issue, and if that were to happen we’ll be ready to announce our proposal.”
The Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision this month in the King v. Burwell case, which could cancel subsidies for millions of Americans who are enrolled through the federal website HealthCare.gov.
President Barack Obama had barely finished proposing an idea to deal with a far-reaching Supreme Court decision on Obamacare before Republicans fired back with a categorical response: Not gonna happen.
At the G7 conference in Germany on Monday, the president said if the justices strip subsidies from millions of Americans, “Congress could fix this whole thing with a one-sentence provision” making clear that Healthcare.gov subsidies are available in all 50 states. Republicans quickly fired off a rebuttal.
“Let’s be clear: if the Supreme Court rules against the Administration, Congress will not pass a so called ‘one-sentence’ fake fix,” Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, who is leading Republican efforts to craft a contingency plan, said in a statement.
President Barack Obama expressed confidence that the Supreme Court would uphold subsidies millions of consumers use to buy health insurance, and at the same time warned of possible dire consequences if that doesn’t happen.
Speaking Monday at a news conference in Germany, at the Group of Seven summit, Mr. Obama said the case, which the Supreme Court is expected to decide near the end of the month “should be an easy case. Frankly, it probably shouldn’t even have been taken up.”
Plaintiffs in the case, King v. Burwell, argue that four words in the health law mean subsidies under the 2010 Affordable Care Act can go only to residents of the dozen states that established their own health-insurance exchanges, rather than the rest of the country, which relies on the federal government HealthCare.gov website
As expectations rise that the Supreme Court will slap down the federal subsidies to help low- to moderate-income Americans get health insurance, a new poll finds that voters want the system reformed and would reward politicians to come up with a fix.
The Public Policy Polling survey found that 61 percent of Americans believe that those eligible for subsidies should be able to get them no matter what state they live in.
What’s more, the poll done for the progressive group Americans United For Change finds that most, no matter which party, want the law fixed to provide subsidies even if they are struck down by the court.
In less than a month, the Supreme Court will rule on King v. Burwell, a case that could topple the Affordable Care Act. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, that would leave almost 8 million Americans unable to pay for healthcare. Chances are, however, that the average voter can’t tell you much about it.
New Morning Consult polling shows that this is gradually changing. Awareness of the legal battle has grown since oral arguments in early March, when 44 percent of voters said that they did not know or had no opinion on the core issue at stake in King v. Burwell: the legality of offering healthcare subsidies through the federal exchange.
A poll conducted in late May shows that number dropped to 37 percent.
The increase in attention came mostly from Democrats, 41 percent of whom reported having no knowledge or no opinion in February; in May, only 34 percent gave the same response. Forty-one percent of Republicans reported no awareness in February, and that figure has since dropped to 38 percent.
The case questions the intent of four words in a single statue of the ACA – that the government may issue subsidies through exchanges “established by the State” – and plaintiffs argue that the court should interpret them literally, meaning only state-run exchanges would be able to offer subsidies.
The new polling data mark a slight shift in the response of Republican voters regarding that legal interpretation. In February, 14 percent of GOP respondents said federal exchanges were initially intended to be treated like state-run exchanges under the law. Twenty-six percent now share that view.