Along with many of my fellow health wonks, I was glued to my computer yesterday morning, waiting to see if today would be the day SCOTUS announced a decision in King v. Burwell. They didn’t, so now we’ve got at least a few more days to wait (currently, the expectation is that the ruling will come on June 29, although it could also be June 22… or they could throw another day into the mix just to keep us all on our toes).
We feel fortunate to be in a state that has its own exchange. Connect for Health Colorado won’t be impacted by the King case, regardless of what the Justices decide. Subsidies are safe here, and that’s very good news for a lot of our clients.
But for six and a half million of our fellow Americans, subsidies are far from safe right now. If the Court rules that subsidies can only be issued by state-run exchanges, chaos will ensue in states that rely on the federally-run exchange. Just how much chaos is still to be determined, and supposedly Congress has “a plan” but they’re not telling us what it is until if and when the subsidies are eliminated. None of the plans they’ve publicly proposed instill much confidence, but I suppose we’ll cross that bridge if and when we get to it.
Anyway, two articles caught my attention this morning. The first, from the Federalist, describes a media bias with regards to the King lawsuit. The author, John Davidson, contends that polls conducted with regards to the King case are flawed, and that they imply (or directly state) that the suit’s plaintiffs and supporters are seeking to “undermine” the ACA. Davidson’s position is that the challengers in the King case are not trying to undermine the ACA, but merely want it to be implemented as written.
Okay. Except that the very next article I happened to read was this one from the NY Times. It includes portions of an interview with David King, the lead plaintiff in the case. King qualifies for VA care, so the whole thing isn’t really an issue for him anyway. But he does not equivocate when it comes to the ACA: he doesn’t like it, and he doesn’t like our President.
The name often used for the program, Obamacare, is enough to upset anyone, Mr. King said, and suggests that the president is “a narcissist.” (at this point, the Times article does point out that it was ACA opponents who coined the term Obamacare, not the president).
And then there’s this:
Mr. King said that he was growing weary of all the chatter about his case on social media and cable television, and that he deserved more credit for challenging the law.
“I listen to everybody bitch and moan and cry about Obamacare,” Mr. King said. “We did something about it.”
That last quote sounds a lot like someone whose ultimate goal is to undermine the healthcare reform law, doesn’t it? (most of the rest of the plaintiffs have expressed a variety of anti-Obama and anti-ACA views as well).
One of the chief architects of the King lawsuit, CATO Institute’s Michael Cannon, has also tried to claim that the lawsuit isn’t an effort to undermine the ACA. Too bad the plaintiffs don’t seem to agree (and if we’re really being honest, Cannon has been trying to undermine the ACA from the get-go. He’s just a little more eloquent with his words and his social media postings than the King plaintiffs).