No, really, why are we still talking about this?
- Obamacare enrollment closed two weeks ago, so why are you still hearing about it? Yes, it was SoOoOo popular officials extended the deadline - twice! And yes, 11.4 million people managed to get it together and enroll this year. But that's not why you're hearing about it this week. This time it's going all the way to SCOTUS.
- On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the second major legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Plaintiffs are using murky language to say that the government issued illegal tax credits in nearly three dozen states.
- If the Supreme Court decides that it should gut this key part of the ACA, 6 million people would be left uninsured, and that would cost the states billions of dollars of these allegedly illegal tax credits (Florida stands to lose the most at $441,938,000 per month).
Why would the government give illegal tax credits? Don't they know better?
- See, this entire argument hinges on four words in the law. Really.
- When Obamacare enrollment opened in 2012, the IRS offered subsidies to people through both federal and local exchanges. Now, the legality of the federal subsidies is in question because of one line in the bill. And what, you ask, are the hard-hitting semantics that could potentially dismantle one of the biggest health care reforms in U.S. history?
- "...established by the State."
- It's disappointing, right? You'd think "destruction" or "hell fire" should've been in there, but no. Just those six syllables. The court will need to decide if Congress' intention was to offer subsidies ONLY in states that set up their own exchanges, or if the law should be interpreted broadly to mean both federal and state exchanges.
- At risk here is anyone who benefited from the tax credits outside of the 14 states that actually set up the state exchanges:
Well, why can't SCOTUS just ask Congress if that's what they meant?
- SO glad that you brought that up! Congress could actually fix this entire mess by striking that line. But they won't, because the Republican majority hates Obamacare just as much as the plaintiffs in the case.
- Congressional Republicans began this session crying from the mountaintops that they would repeal Obamacare, taking a blood oath to kill what they think is a real O-bummer for free-market economics.
- In the past two years, Congress has voted 56 times – including once this session – to repeal Obamacare, but the GOP is still batting 0.000 on, you know, actually doing it. But someone else might take care of it for them, which brings us to the reason you're hearing about this case.
Wow! Sounds like some people really hate Obamacare. Should I hate Obamacare, too?
- Well, that depends. Let’s take a little quiz:
- -Do you oppose mandated health care coverage?
-Are you uninsured, missed enrollment and will now be paying the fine for not signing up?
-Do you have a good solution for the aftermath of dismantling the program?
-Do you have severe tunnel vision that only allows you to read and comprehend four words at a time?
-Did you have to deal with the glitchy, horri-bad ACA site?
-Are you Sen. Ted Cruz? Be honest!
If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, then you probably hate Obamacare at least a little bit. There are plenty of people for you to lean on, don't worry!
I just skipped to the bottom. Could you recap this whole thing for me really quick?
- Ugh, fine.
A lot of people have signed up for Obamacare. It's working better this time around!