This article will assess the legality of executive actions that the Administration may take after King v. Burwell to continue paying subsidies in these thirty-four states. I will not discuss the merits of the case, predict how the Court should construe the statute or IRS rule, or propose congressional modifications to the ACA. Rather, this analysis is premised on potential administrative fixes HHS could employ following an adverse ruling in King v. Burwell.
We’ve famously been told that the Department of Health & Human Services has no Plan B. But what if the Supreme Court forces the executive branch’s hand? Yes, there’ll be plenty of finger-pointing and demagoguery as a high-stakes game of chicken unfolds among the White House, Congress, and various state governments. But what could Obama/HHS do? Remember, this is the president who has a pen and a phone, and “if Congress won’t act, I will.”
The running joke is that HHS/IRS will simply promulgate another rule deeming all federal exchanges to be state exchanges. But that couldn’t possibly be the answer, could it?
Although Obamacare’s initial rollout problems have been resolved, the administration is still running into problems implementing the law. But this time it’s not the website, it’s the IRS.
The Internal Revenue Service is responsible for enforcing major provisions of the health care law—including administering subsidies to people who enrolled on the state and federal exchanges, as well as enforcing mandates by issuing tax penalties to those who don’t have health coverage.
The U.S. Census Bureau has published new estimates of health spending based on their somewhat obscure but important Quarterly Services Survey. Analysis of the survey data shows that health spending was 7.3% higher in the first quarter of 2015 than in the first quarter of last year. Hospital spending increased 9.2%.
Maybe the pending King v. Burwell decision will finally put Obamacare out of its misery. No matter what President Obama or Health and Human Services secretary Sylvia Burwell say, the truth is Obamacare is just limping along as another misguided, over-priced and underperforming government program.
Many consumers with health coverage through the Affordable Care Act are facing unexpected medical bills that in some cases greatly exceed the law’s caps on out-of-pocket expenses.
The law’s limits don’t apply to charges from out-of-network providers, and many insurance plans sold on ACA exchanges have limited networks—amplifying the risk of surprise bills.
Leading Republicans are charging that the Obama administration is illegally funding yet another part of Obamacare, in addition to the part of the healthcare law over which House Republicans are already suing.
Their latest criticism centers on the Affordable Care Act’s basic health program, an optional program for states that started this year, in which low-income residents can get subsidized, state-contracted health plans instead of buying them through the new online marketplaces.
New figures indicate that about 11 million people have signed up for health insurance during this latest sign-up period of Obamacare, of which about half will be from the uninsured population, based on previous estimates. Once again, the supporters of the law celebrate with proclamations that “it’s working.” One could say that assessment is true, if the definition of “working” means enrolling people into anything called health insurance.
To be sure, the law’s implementation is progressing, but there is no cause for celebration. It is indeed true that millions of Americans are now newly enrolled into health insurance, but it is disingenuous to tout this as a great success. An estimated 71% of the new insurance arises through Medicaid, using 2014 calculations based on analysis by Haislmaier and Gonshorowski of data from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare.
Among presidents in modern times, Barack Obama stands apart in the intensity of his remarks on Supreme Court cases, a soon-to-be published article in Presidential Studies Quarterly concluded.
Mr. Obama added a new data point on Monday, saying at a news conference that “under well-established precedent, there is no reason” the administration should lose a challenge to the Affordable Care Act pending before the court.
The Obama administration is doubling down on the Affordable Care Act this week, as a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could dismantle the plan looms in the near future.
In a contentious House Committee on Ways and Means, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said President Barack Obama will not consider any GOP proposals to strike down the law’s insurance mandates.
Burwell acknowledged, however, that the administration would rely on Congress for a fix.