The Supreme Court has issued no official opinion over whether the Affordable Care Act can continue to award subsidies to low income Americans living in States which elected not to set up State health insurance exchanges and instead watched citizens utilize the Federal Exchange. The Supreme Court now must decide whether wording buried in the 2000 or so pages of the ACA really meant to limit subsidies only to States which in fact did set up exchanges. A negative Court decision will put an estimated 6 million Americans in jeopardy of losing health care coverage.
The GOP has been working upon a “fix” should the Court decide “no subsidies”. The “fix” would restore by law subsidies for up to 2 years. Hmmm. Sounds like a fix but is there more?
Of course. The GOP proposal would tie the subsidies extension with the end of employer and individual mandates. In other words, employers would not longer be required to provide healthcare insurance and individuals would no longer need to buy insurance if they did not wish to. Potentially this would end ACA as we know it.
President Obama will not sign such a law should it make it to his desk. More likely, the Senate will not be able to pass such an extension with these ACA poison pills. So, get ready for Republicans to say, “we GOP members want to help those of you who have lost your coverage” and Democrats to respond, “the GOP has taken your healthcare coverage away by a law suit and now won’t pass a clean bill to restore your subsidies”.
Government workers will still have excellent coverage regardless of the Court’s ruling. As a consequence, Congress members can posture and debate until the cows come home without any personal discomfort. Hmmm.
As in each of the previous 40+ House votes to repeal ACA, there still remains no alternative GOP plan. There is no question that the individual mandate can be dropped or that insurance companies could be turned loose again to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, or that subsidies could be lessened or dropped entirely and return America to roughly what health care coverage was prior to ACA.
If that is the GOP plan, then why aren’t they proud enough to say so and pledge this would be a key plank in their 2016 platform?