'Millions Lose' if Plaintiffs Win Obamacare Case

'King v. Burwell' makes a 'bizarre' argument, says USA Today
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2015 7:00 PM CST
FILE - This Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 file photo, shows the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. The Supreme Court is casting a skeptical eye on voter-approved commissions that draw a state's congressional district...   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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(Newser) – Four people are bringing their case against Obamacare to the Supreme Court Wednesday, and USA Today doesn't like it. "As legal challenges go, the latest complaint is bizarre," writes the editorial board. In sum, the plaintiffs say a literal reading of the law only allows states with health exchanges to give people subsidies. So what damages do the plaintiffs claim? "That without those awful subsidies, they wouldn't have to buy Obamacare-compliant health coverage at all because they'd qualify for low-income exemptions," writes the board. "If that sounds convoluted, it is." If they win, and 34 states without health exchanges cut subsidies, roughly 8 million people will lose funding. "Strip away the anti-Obama posturing, and that's outrageously selfish," the paper says. Among other takes:

  • There's no fix: Obama administration officials say there's no "plan B" if the Supreme Court rules for the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell, reports Politico. In that scenario, millions will lose funding, insurance costs will spike, and millions could lose their insurance. "There will be have-states and have-not states, and the cleavages will be deeper and more painful than they are today," says a former HHS exchange official.
  • Oh, yes there is: If the court rules for King, "we will give states the freedom and flexibility to create better, more competitive health insurance markets offering more options and different choices," write GOP senators Lamar Alexander, Orrin Hatch, and John Barrasso in the Washington Post. "Republicans understand that what works in Utah is different from what works in Tennessee or Wyoming." They would also free up "transitional" financial aid so that millions don't lose their health insurance.
Read about half of Obamacare enrollees "taking a hit" on tax returns.

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