A few landmark decisions remain to be made. One of them, King v. Burwell, presents the Court’s third visit with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as it has come to be called. In Burwell, a challenge was made to federal government funding of certain health care subsidies on the ground that the subsidies violated the express language of Obamacare. The essence of the case has to do with the Obama administration deciding to provide federally-funded subsidies for health care premiums for qualified subscribers who live in States that refused to set up and run a State health care exchange.
Using a carrot and stick approach, when the Congress under Democrat control and the President adopted Obamacare, they included a provision that would make health care premiums more affordable for lower income applicants by offering a subsidy – essentially a tax credit – when such insurance was purchased through an exchange set up by a State.
The States, by a broad majority, declined the temptation and refused to set up State exchanges. For residents in those States, the result was that they would not see subsidies that would make health insurance premiums affordable. Anticipating that costliness would result in low participation rates, the Obama administration unilaterally decided to “interpret” the law as though subsidies would be available to subscribers who obtained insurance through exchanges set up in the States if the States did not set them up.
Verbal gymnastics, at a minimum. Shameless hucksterism in service of the progressive ideology is the more accurate explanation of what they did. Now the Court will answer this question. When it does, it will either allow the hucksterism to continue. The lower court did so, so it might not surprise if they do. But, if the Court finds that the Obama administration's tortured misreading of the statute is incorrect, then there will be millions of Americans with suddenly unaffordable health care.
Of course, the progressives want Republicans to react with fear, and conclude that those that may lose health insurance will hold them accountable at the ballot box if they lose their coverage. For this reason, some Representatives are talking about creating a temporary fix by which those subsidies could continue. With that in mind, here's