Two pieces of the puzzle in King v Burwell, whose SCOTUS BJs have just started.
And here’s where some on the right want to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Conventional wisdom in Washington has assumed that, should the Court strike down the subsidies in 37 states under King, states will immediately act to establish their own state-run exchanges — allowing the subsidies to flow once more. Alternatively, Congress might be tempted to pass language extending the subsidies to the federally-run exchange, allowing Obamacare to comply with the Court ruling. That’s a “solution” in search of a problem. If eliminating the subsidies represents a net tax cut, then restoring the subsidies — whether by states creating their own exchanges, Congress passing new legislation, or some combination of the two — would re-impose a sizable tax increase. Americans would pay billions more in higher taxes to fund the newly restored subsidies, making Obamacare that much more entrenched. What self-proclaimed conservative of sound mind would do such a thing? Alternatively, some have talked about enacting a “compromise” that would restore the Obamacare subsidies while reforming some of the law’s new insurance requirements and regulations. But restoring the flow of subsidies means restoring the employer mandate, thus raising taxes. And even if such a “compromise” weakens or eliminates the employer mandate, the Obama administration — to say nothing of the insurance companies themselves — will hardly countenance a repeal of the individual mandate, which restoring the subsidies will only strengthen. So those seeking to restore the flow of subsidies will likely end up having to raise taxes on millions of Americans, in some way, shape, or form.
The emphasis of one given word in this quote is my own addition.
Insurance companies will be the biggest losers
Their stock prices have soared since the healthcare.gov rollout — Humana up 66 percent; Cigna, 53 percent; Aetna, 52 percent. No wonder: ObamaCare forces the public to buy their policies.
It’s like a law requiring all Americans to buy cars, subsidizing those who can’t pay. That would send automaker stocks skyrocketing, too.
Insurers are expected to haul in over a trillion dollars of taxpayer money over the next decade. No wonder they’re bombarding the Supremes with arguments defending their cozy deal.
The third piece of the puzzle? Look at the campaign finance reports of a lot of Republicans, and you’re going to find a whole lot of insurance PACs, 527s, if not semi-directly, then funneled through one or two intermediaries.
It’s why the Republican Party in current form is never going to make a serious run at repeal. At “best,” they’ll just nibble around some of the worst edges.