Morning Consult — 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.
Millions of Americans could lose Obamacare subsidies under a Supreme Court ruling this month, but many in the GOP don’t need their votes anyway.
That’s a major political calculus for Tea Party Republicans, who are likely to resist any efforts to extend the subsidies, even temporarily. They’re much more worried about angering their base by appearing to concede to Obamacare than whether a handful of constituents lose their subsidies.
“Ninety-seven percent of Americans aren’t receiving those subsidies,” Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., told reporters Thursday. “I will tell you I’m a ‘no’ on voting to extend those subsidies unless the president is willing to sit down and work with us and fix the problems for that 97 percent.”
At stake are federal subsidies that about 7 million low and moderate-income Americans are using to buy health coverage.
They could lose the assistance if the justices rule the Obama administration is awarding it illegally in the 37 states relying on healthcare.gov instead of running their own insurance marketplaces. The dispute, known as King v. Burwell, is over the interpretation of a few sentences in the Affordable Care Act.
Sen. Ted Cruz’s Obamacare hearing in a Senate Judiciary subcommittee Thursday afternoon began rather bizarrely.
To his right sat two Democrats: Sens. Christopher Coons, the ranking member of the oversight subcommittee, and Richard Blumenthal.
Directly in front of Cruz was an empty row of seats, vacant because witnesses from the Obama administration who were asked to fill them didn’t show up. Beyond that was an audience filling almost every seat in the room, drawn by the hearing’s subject: the writing of the Obamacare subsidy rule, a topic that is also in a roundabout way currently under consideration by the Supreme Court.
The Treasury Department had told Cruz last week that it wouldn’t be sending any witnesses, so the Texas Republican wasn’t surprised. The empty table was theater, and Cruz took advantage of the opportunity, railing against the Affordable Care Act and the administration for not sending the requested Treasury officials, a snub which he called “the height of arrogance.”
“It’s a symbol for how little regard the Obama administration has for the American people,” Cruz said. “By their absence, I take it the administration is saying they are not subject to oversight.”
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.
WASHINGTON—Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said Thursday that a potential Supreme Court decision voiding the health law’s tax credits would create widespread disruption, but that federal officials were prepared to work with states to mitigate the effects.
A move by the court to strike a key component of the 2010 federal health-care overhaul could mean “the number of uninsured would jump dramatically” and that a “death spiral” would ensue in insurance markets in most of the country, she said, as sicker people kept coverage and healthier ones dropped it.
The federal government has provided tax credits to help low- and moderate-income consumers pay for health premiums in about three-dozen states through the HealthCare.gov website. The Supreme Court is set to rule later this month on whether the language of the Affordable Care Act restricts the credits to residents of the handful of states that opted to run their own insurance sites, officially called exchanges.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell said she was hopeful that more states will follow Indiana’s example and expand Medicaid. She spoke at a breakfast hosted by the Wall Street Journal Thursday.
“We believe we hold the right position,” Ms. Burwell said at a breakfast hosted by The Wall Street Journal. But “if that’s what the courts decide, we can’t undo the massive damage.”
The list continued to grow of preventive services that people are entitled to receive without paying anything out of pocket.
In 2014, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended two new services and tweaked a handful of others that had previously been recommended. Under the health law, preventive care that receives an “A” or “B” recommendation by the nonpartisan group of medical experts must be covered by health plans without charging consumers. Only grandfathered plans are exempt from the requirement.
Health Care Service Corp., the largest not-for-profit health insurer in the country, suffered large losses in 2014, the first year that Americans could buy individual coverage through the public exchanges.
HCSC recorded a $281.9 million loss in 2014, compared with a $684.3 million surplus in 2013—a swing of almost $1 billion.
A group of House Republicans unveiled a 192-page health care plan that fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with “patient-centered reforms” and “free-market solutions.”
Lawmakers released the plan Thursday as the GOP-led Congress prepares to attack the Affordable Care Act. Both houses of Congress have already signaled their intentions to repeal Obamacare by a simple majority vote using the reconciliation process—just as the law was passed in 2010.
The new GOP plan, American Health Care Reform Act, was written by Reps. Phil Roe of Tennessee and Austin Scott of Georgia. It has the backing of the Republican Study Committee, a caucus made up of nearly 170 members of the House of Representatives.
Facing a possible Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare that could cost residents millions of dollars in subsidies to buy health insurance, Delaware has put in motion a plan that could protect the state from the effects of such a decision.
Rita Landgraf, Delaware’s health and social services director, confirmed to TPM Wednesday that the state has filed a “blueprint” to the federal government to take more responsibility for its Obamacare exchange to blunt the potential effects of a pending Supreme Court ruling in King v. Burwell.
New York City’s unionized municipal employees and retirees enjoy some of the most expansive—and expensive—health-insurance benefits in the country. But in 2018, Obamacare’s tax on such generous plans will finally kick in, and public-sector union plans will be the first hit by the so-called Cadillac Tax. How much the penalty will amount to remains unknown, but one thing’s for sure: New Yorkers will wind up footing the bill.