A project of the Galen Institute
“Protect the people, not the law,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in a brief phone interview, describing the mind-set of the GOP should the Supreme Court rule against the administration and strike down the federal Obamacare exchanges in King v. Burwell. The Supreme Court did not issue an opinion today, but within the next two weeks Congress may be presented with a dilemma: What should it do about the approximately 6.4 million people who would lose subsidies in 34 states?
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is pushing back against the idea of Republicans simply continuing ObamaCare subsidies if the Supreme Court cripples the law.
At a press conference Thursday, Boehner was asked why a House GOP plan included repeal of the individual mandate, which would just be “veto-bait” for President Obama, and why Republicans would not just extend subsidies through the presidential election while looking for concessions elsewhere in exchange.
“Clearly, we’re interested in protecting those millions of Americans who could lose their subsidies. But, as I said, we are not interested in protecting a fundamentally broken law,” Boehner said.
The New York Times
Republicans who have been hoping that the Supreme Court will upend President Obama’s health care law are now confronting an urgent and uncomfortable question: What if they win?
Republicans in Congress would face an enormously complicated challenge to fashion an alternative, and they fear the fallout could lead to election losses if millions of Americans abruptly found themselves without health insurance.
If the court voids a federal rule allowing subsidies in states that use the federal insurance marketplace, many Republicans said, they would support a temporary continuation of subsidies for people with low or moderate incomes.
Senate Republicans are coalescing around a plan to extend Obamacare subsidies for up to two years if the Supreme Court strikes them this month.
The court is due to rule within days on whether the president’s health care law allows people using HealthCare.gov to get insurance subsidies. If the court rules against the White House and strikes the subsidies, Republicans say they want to be ready to protect the more than 6 million people who could lose their subsidies.
The New York Times
Millions of people are waiting anxiously for the Supreme Court to decide the fate of President Obama’s health care law with a ruling this month on health insurance subsidies. But David M. King, a plaintiff in the case, is not among them.
Mr. King, 64, said recently that he was reasonably confident he would prevail in his challenge to the subsidies, a central element of the Affordable Care Act.
“We have a good chance of winning,” he said in an interview at his home here.
The Wall Street Journal
In a recent interview with the Des Moines Register, Hillary Clinton outlined several elements of Obamacare that she said she would seek to change as president. Her proposals illustrate how the fiscal impact of the law could increase significantly from what was expected when the legislation passed in March 2010.
Among the things Mrs. Clinton cited was “how to fix the family glitch.” In short, if an individual qualifies for “affordable” health insurance through an employer, that person’s family will not qualify for federal insurance subsidies–even if the employer does not offer family coverage or if family coverage is unaffordable for the household.
Congressional Republicans will move to temporarily continue health care subsidies for millions of people if the Supreme Court overturns the aid, according to plans discussed Wednesday in the House and Senate.
In addition, the GOP proposals would dissolve many of the basic requirements of President Barack Obama’s health care law, including mandates that most people buy coverage and most companies provide it to their workers, Republicans said. Eventually, they hope, the entire law would be repealed.
The Obama administration cannot account for nearly $3 billion in subsidies paid to insurance companies in 2014, according to a government watchdog.
Those dollars are untraceable because the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) did not have “effective” methods to do so, according to a report from the department’s inspector general.
The Wall Street Journal
Republican leaders are coalescing around a plan to extend the health law’s tax credits for as long as two years, while repealing other parts of the law, if the Supreme Court invalidates the credits.
The high court is expected to rule by the end of June on whether to restrict the 2010 law’s tax credits—used by low- and moderate-income consumers to help pay their insurance premiums—to the handful of states that opted to set up their own insurance exchanges.
Senior Republicans who are worried they’ll be blamed for killing health insurance for millions of Americans have been busy assembling a range of options if the Supreme Court strikes down the law’s subsidies in 34 states.
But the GOP senators running for president — starting but not ending with firebrand Ted Cruz — threaten to stymie their leaders’ carefully hatched plans. Any whiff that the GOP’s Plan B is a continuation of Obamacare is bound to spark furious protests from the conservative base, putting pressure on the presidential hopefuls to respond. Cruz, for one, would press for a wholesale repeal of the law — or to allow states to opt out of Obamacare — if the high court provides the opening.