Wednesday, June 10, 2015

King Me

We'll soon have an opinion in King v. Burwell.  I have no idea how the Court will decide, but just as uncertain would be the political fallout if they declared that federal health care exchanges don't receive subsidies.  This is often painted as a huge loss for President Obama, but I wonder.  In fact, I don't even wonder that much--it strikes me as more trouble for the Republicans.

The Court had its chance to overturn Obamacare.  If Justice Roberts had voted with the "conservative" bloc, that would have essentially been the end of the law.  But now Obamacare is the law of the land and all the Court can do is mess around at the edges.

So let's say they decide the ACA, properly interpreted, means no subsidies for federal exchanges.  What would happen? Suddenly there'd be pressure on a lot of states to set up their own exchanges to get all that free money from the feds (the reason the clause in question is in the law to begin with), and there'd probably be even more pressure on Congress to pass some sort of patch.

Republicans may resist, saying the Dems created this mess, let them live with the results. But even though the public may not much like the law, they'd probably still want to see it enforced equally.  So if there were no patch, it'd at least be something Dems could run on, allowing them to paint the GOP as heartless, not caring if millions lose their insurance. (I know they'll do that anyway, but this makes it easier.)

Some act as if this case could capsize Obamacare.  How?  It'd still be good law.  Private individuals and companies can't decide on their own to stop following it without consequences. The only way to get rid of it is legislative action.  And since we know President Obama won't sign any such bills, and Congress doesn't have enough votes to override him, that means nothing will change for at least 18 months, giving Democrats plenty of time to beat the Republicans over the head with an adverse decision.  I could even imagine it helping Hillary Clinton get into office.


Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

You don't care about the credibility of the court? It took a huge hit in the first decision, even if it comes down to one man. This will pretty much finish the job.

Say, how are those Reason subpoenas coming?

2:17 AM, June 10, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

The "credibility of the Court" is a political question that never makes a difference, except perhaps in goading the occasional Justice to vote one way or another. In fact, it's quite possible concerns about its credibility is what gave us the first Obamacare decision.

8:35 AM, June 10, 2015  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

The Republican plan I see is to pass a short term (2 year) fix that will restore the subsidies (retroactively, I assume) and leave the question to the next President and Congress. They intend to require elimination of the mandate as well.

I think this could work. President Obama may not agree to sign the bill, especially if it removes the mandate. But then he possibly looks like the grinch, and Hillary Clinton has to argue that he was right to do so.

I also think that the Congress might overturn such a veto, especially if the mandate is left in the law. We know the law is generally unpopular, and presented in the right way, this fight turns the 2016 election into a referendum on national health insurance mandates. The people who like the law weren't going to vote for Republicans anyway, but to everyone else, it can be presented as the last, best chance to "repeal & replace" Obamacare. Might become a rallying point, especially among younger voters who hate the mandate.

9:30 AM, June 10, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

There may be ways to attack the law, especially (only?) if a Republican takes the White House in 2016, but I guarantee once there has been a "short term" restoration of the subsidies, you have taken care of that question for all time. No politicians at that point will let the payments lapse.

9:38 AM, June 10, 2015  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Oh, I realize all sides use the term credibility, or legitimacy. Of course they would. But it's sort of the point that the court is able to distinguish that. Now, if you say that's a lost cause, you might be right.

2:22 PM, June 10, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on the current lineup, Hillary won't need any help in the general assuming she wins the democratic primary.

2:49 PM, June 10, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure thing. Hell with those clowns Sanders is a lock.

2:53 PM, June 10, 2015  

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