King v. Burwell May “Unravel The Law”

November 20th, 2014

The Hill reports on a WSJ Op-Ed by the President of Kaiser Foundation, Drew Altman, who argues that if the Court invalidates the rule at issue in King v. Burwell, Obamacare will “unravel”

One of the country’s leading healthcare policy groups is raising alarms about the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on ObamaCare, warning that it could cut off subsidies for 13 million people and ultimately unravel the law.

Altman explains:

Because most people eligible for tax credits have modest incomes, the vast majority would not be able to afford any coverage without financial help and the ranks of the uninsured would become much larger than they would otherwise be. And because the very sick would be most likely to remain in the insurance markets, rates would spike and insurers would leave the markets, possibly causing the marketplaces in states with federally run exchanges to collapse. If that happened, the resulting firestorm would likely precipitate a political crisis forcing a negotiation between Democrats and Republicans in Congress to address the problem and potentially opening up discussion of other elements of the ACA in the process. In such a polarized Congress, the results of that sort of negotiation are impossible to predict.

Or, the President can decide to pay the subsidies anyway. I’m half expecting the SG to make that point. Maybe they can provide subsidies to the insurers directly through the risk corridors, or something ridiculous like that.