If the Supreme Court overturns the subsidies, a hot war over Obamacare will start immediately.
It is impossible to predict how the Supreme Court will rule on the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act, but if it overturns the subsidies to people in states with no state exchanges, we are going to see a huge propaganda war to get the Republicans to endorse the law and fix it. Perhaps I should say, the Republicans will engage in a propaganda war to convince their base that they have no choice but to endorse the affordable care act and fix it.
Barack Obama has clearly stated how he plans to react if the Supreme Court rules that the subsidies are illegal. The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein reports,
If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in June that health insurance subsidies for millions of Americans are illegal, Republicans better not be caught flat-footed, because President Obama will be ready to pounce, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., told the Washington Examiner in an interview.
“As the president said to me in the White House [earlier this month], he said, ‘There are five million people [who receive subsidies through the federal exchange] — and I know who they are.’ He spoke like a community organizer who was going to try to use those people that he has actually caused significant damage to by not applying the law,” Barrasso said from his senate office.
If the Supreme Court does the right think, President Obama will immediately hold up these people who no longer get subsidies as a national emergency.
Congressional and Senate Republicans need to develop a plan now that will address the issue head on.
Of course, the health insurance companies will line up behind Obamacare and try to say that a rescue of the subsidies makes business sense. This will give public relations cover to the Republicans in the Senate and the House to claim they are being “pro-business.”
It will be up to the Tea Party to make it clear that the grassroots will not accept this horrible law. It needs to be dismembered and destroyed, not fixed.
And there may be options that will make it easier for Congress to act. Klein lists a couple of consequences that would happen if the Supreme Court ended the subsidies:
A ruling would also have broader ramifications for the healthcare law. For instance, Obamacare’s fines against employers that do not offer health insurance coverage are triggered when a worker claims government subsidies to purchase insurance on an exchange — but in states where workers can no longer legally receive those subsidies, then there are no fines. The employer mandate, thus, is effectively dead in those states.
Additionally, the individual mandate exempts those who can’t find health insurance options for less than 8 percent of their income — thus, if the subsidies are eliminated, more people will be able to claim this exemption.
So there will be a business group that will directly benefit from the end of subsidies. That will help. But, even more importantly, some of those five million subsidy-recipients might much prefer to be exempt from Obamacare rather than forced to participate. Best of all, Congress won’t have to pass a veto-proof law to help them. They can escape from the law as it is now written!
We need to pray and prepare.