The Supreme Court is gearing up to issue a ruling on Obamacare subsidies that could affect people in 34 states. Reuters said if the justices rule the subsidies are illegal, it could eliminate billions of dollars in payments to hospitals, pharmacies and drug manufacturers. Health care researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation said that would amount to $7.5 billion in lost health care revenue.
“The immediate consequences of such a ruling would fall on the 6.4 million people who receive the subsidies and live in states that did not establish their own insurance exchanges under President Barack Obama’s health care law, instead relying on the federal HealthCare.gov website,” according to Reuters.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has proved to be a controversial policy, with Republicans making a point to eliminate it if they regained control of Congress. Republicans see Obamacare as not only unconstitutional but harmful to small businesses.
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is one of the most politically divisive U.S. laws, opposed by many Republicans. Party lawmakers have fought in particular against its requirement that all Americans have health insurance or pay an annual penalty and say they have plans to replace the law if the subsidies are ruled out,” according to Reuters.
However, most Americans seem to be happy with the law when they actually learn what’s in it. According to Business Insider, New York Times writer Eduardo Porter suggested Republicans want to eliminate Obamacare because they’re scared working-class Republicans might actually grow to like it.
“Many of the Americans who will benefit from Obamacare, Porter points out, are relatively poor red-state Republicans who are currently devout supporters of the Republican Party. For decades, the Republican pitch to these voters has been that ‘less government is better,’” according to Business Insider. “If Obamacare works the way it is supposed to, however, it’s possible that ‘more government’ might actually seem to be better — and that many die-hard Republican voters might realize that. After all, even now, before Obamacare has really gotten going, Americans actually very much like the specific benefits of Obamacare — as long as you don’t call it ‘Obamacare.’”
According to a Mother Jones article, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey found the majority of Americans would support Congress restoring Obamacare subsidies if they were eliminated by a Supreme Court ruling.
“Nearly two-thirds think Congress should pass a law that makes everyone in all states eligible for subsidies. Unsurprisingly, this sentiment is strongest among Democrats and weakest among Republicans. In a related question, among those living in states that use the federal exchange — that is, the mainly red states that would lose subsidies if King v. Burwell succeeds — less than a third think their state should just shrug and refuse to create a state exchange that would reinstate the subsidies,” said Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum.
However, legal experts predict the Supreme Court ruling will preserve the Obamacare subsidies.
“In the end, there is more than enough merit to the government’s statutory interpretation position and the disastrous consequences are certain if plaintiffs’ position were adopted,” said Ralph S. Tyler writing for The Hill. “The government’s position will command at least the necessary five-vote majority. The Court is not going to blow up the ACA, create chaos in 34 states, and leave millions of people without insurance because of what is, at most, in artful or sloppy legislative drafting in a single provision of a lengthy and complex statute. The consequences are too great and the argument for imposing those consequences was shown to be thin and inadequate.”