No matter if you call it King v. Burwell, Halbig v. Burwell, Pruitt v. Burwell, or Indiana v. IRS, the Supreme Court has begun hearing arguments as to whether or not enrollees in the Federal exchanges (aka Healthcare.gov or HCgov) are eligible for Federal subsidies. At stake are millions of Healthcare.gov enrollees who may lose those subsidies. To put this into perspective, ACAsignups.net is reporting that as of 3/2/15, 11.76 million had signed up for ObamaCare health plans. But, of that number nearly 9 million were signed up through HCgov, and, approximately 87% of that number or 7.83 million are qualified for and should receive some amount of subsidies. Subsidies that may be struck down by the highest court if it rules to side with King.
Now, many have written that if the Supreme Court rules favorably in the case of King (the primary umbrella suit for all of the other suits), ObamaCare will unravel because subsidies are the key to reducing the number of uninsured lower income families. But, there's more to that decision than just what is legal. As usual, that "more" is politics.
Certainly, if the Supreme's vote that federal subsidies in the federal exchanges are legal, then Obama and the Democrats are winners. But, what if the subsidies are struck down. What then? At that point, Democrat politics will kick into high gear. Even though the Democrats are wholly responsible for writing a flawed legislation that, legally, would deny millions their subsidies, they will still use that court defeat to blame the Republicans.
First, they will blame those 36 states run by Republican Governors and Legislatures for denying millions of people subsidies by not setting up their own ObamaCare exchanges and, instead, relying on the HC.gov for their enrollments. Then, they will pressure the Republican House and Senate to come up with a solution to re-instate those subsidies. If they aren't re-instated, the President and the Democrats "and" the mainstream media will hammer the Republicans right through the 2016 Presidential election cycle. That has already started. The Kaiser Family conducted a poll and 64% of wanted Congress to act if the subsidies are struck down by the Supreme Court. This despite the fact that, according to a RealClearPolitics summary of several polls, only 39.6% even approve of the law.
So, there you have it. Obama wins no matter what happens, and once again, Republicans are being boxed in by something that not even one of them voted for and which is negatively viewed by most Americans. Go figure!
King v. Burwell: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_v._Burwell
87% of Obamacare Enrollees Qualify for Subsidies: http://www.mainstreet.com/article/87-of-obamacare-enrollees-qualify-for-subsidies-increase-over-last-year
Most uninsured Americans live in states that won't run their own ObamaCare exchanges: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/09/19/most-uninsured-americans-live-in-states-that-wont-run-their-own-obamacare-exchanges/
Public Approval of Health Care Law: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/obama_and_democrats_health_care_plan-1130.html
64% Want Congress to Act if Subsidies are denied: http://www.cnbc.com/id/102373740