ObamaCare in Critical Condition at Court
Americans want a second opinion on the country’s health care law — and the Supreme Court is giving them one.
Three years after the justices upheld the President’s controversial legislation, the justices are taking another crack at ObamaCare — with even more on the line. That’s news to most Americans, 70 percent of whom have heard little or nothing about the case. And while they may not know about the suit, they’re about to feel its effects if the justices strike down the subsidies that make the coverage possible for millions of people.
The “Affordable” Care Act, which is turning out to be one of the most litigated pieces of legislation in modern history, is back under the microscope — this time to decide if the IRS acted lawlessly (The IRS? Lawless?) in doling out billions of dollars in health care aid to people not meant to receive it. Under the law passed by Congress, only states that set up their own health care exchanges were eligible for subsidies.
As usual, the IRS ignored the plain language of the law and offered the same financial help to low-income people on the federal exchanges too.
In King v. Burwell, the Court will decide whether it’s legal to give tax subsidies to 6.4 million people who already have help buying health insurance. As anyone familiar with the law knows, a ruling against the administration would be catastrophic for the President’s health care scheme — imploding ObamaCare’s already shaky foundation and leaving 87% of enrollees without subsidies.
Of course, the GOP has spent the last five years trying to topple the law — voting more than 50 times to repeal the legislation in some fashion. And while conservatives would welcome a decision gutting a major portion of the policy, they also recognize that it’s absolutely essential to protect the Americans who would be stranded without coverage. With just two weeks left in the Supreme Court’s term, House and Senate Republicans are moving quickly on a short-term solution that would bridge the gap until 2017, when the GOP could potentially have a President in the White House who could overhaul the entire system.
In a closed-door meeting yesterday, both chambers’ Republicans met together to hash out their options. So far, one plan that’s receiving the most attention is Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.), which would return to the states something they desperately want: control. Using a system of block grants, state leaders could choose for themselves how to spend Washington’s money, while also repealing the individual and employer mandates that have destroyed jobs and outraged voters.
As Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) told reporters, “…[T]hey can set up their own exchange; they can give tax credits; they can set up health savings accounts; they can do whatever they want… What we do is we give the power — instead of requiring or forcing governors to enter ObamaCare — we give them the power to opt out of ObamaCare [and] the money to take care of those who are on some form of subsidy for a specific period of time, until we can put in place a full-system replacement.”
While the idea doesn’t have universal support from conservatives on the Hill, it’s at least a starting point that continues the dismantling process of one of the worst laws in American history.
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