We know that ObamaCare is affordable to many people only because of subsidies provided by the taxpayer. A new study shows, unsurprisingly, that if these subsidies are ruled illegal, many subsidy recipients would be exposed to the full cost of ObamaCare.
According to new research from health group Avalere, if the Supreme Court rules against the government in the case of King v. Burwell, 7.5 million Americans could be affected and could see their portion of their premiums increase by 255 percent on average.
No doubt, ObamaCare advocates will seize on this information and paint King v. Burwell as a potential disaster. The disaster, however, is ObamaCare itself.
Importantly, a ruling King v. Burwell could have a very positive impact for low- to middle-income people in the affected states: If their portion of their premiums (absent the illegal subsidies) is more than 8 percent of their income, they qualify for a hardship exemption, freeing them from the law’s onerous individual mandate and allowing them to purchase more basic, affordable “catastrophic plans” if they chose.
And it’s not likely that a ruling in King v. Burwell would go without a response from Congress.
The Hill reports:
"The federal exchange generally serves low income populations in red states, so that’s where the premium increases would be concentrated,” Mendelson wrote in a statement. “If King prevails, we expect to see virtually all stakeholders aggressively seeking alternatives to ensure continuity of care."
A ruling against the government would be a win for freedom, but it also means we need to be diligent in ensuring that there are market-based and patient-centered options in the wings. In Congress, lawmakers are already proposing contingency plans to transition subsidy recipients into better, more affordable coverage. And state lawmakers are asking that the federal government allow them to lead in health policy.
Importantly, the non-establishing states are not just “red states.” Heavily Democratic states like Massachusetts, Vermont, and Oregon are among those using the federal Healthcare.gov as well. Some blue states, while they support ObamaCare in spirit, just found that creating and running a state-based exchange was simply too complicated and costly.
ObamaCare was built on unsavory deals and funded by pulling the wool over the eyes of taxpayers. The subsidies in the law were meant to solve a problem of the law’s own making: ObamaCare raises premiums through mandates and regulations, and then shifts those costs onto taxpayers through the subsidy mechanism. But of course, this isn’t sustainable.
When all is said and done, ObamaCare will have been an expensive lesson, but let us hope it is one that everyone grasps. A ruling in favor of petitioners in King v. Burwell could finally open the door for America to move beyond the stalemate politics of this awful law.