In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court will issue a highly anticipated ruling on the case of King v. Burwell. The lawsuit alleges that the Obama Administration went beyond the law in implementing the President’s health-care subsidies and mandates.
At the heart of the judges’ decision will be whether the executive branch ignored the statute passed by Congress and instead enacted policies to serve the administration’s political interests.
According to the plaintiffs, the Internal Revenue Service’s practice of applying subsidies to both state and federal insurance marketplaces, or “exchanges,” unilaterally broadens the scope of the health-care law and federal spending. The law as written allows subsidies for insurance plans only through exchanges “established by the State,” not by the federal government.
The King v. Burwell decision could present a prime opportunity to create a better way forward, but Congress will have to act quickly. Without a backup plan, Americans currently receiving federal subsidies to pay for their health insurance – mandated by Obamacare in the first place – could abruptly lose their coverage.
The White House has offered no alternatives if the Supreme Court overturns its implementation of the law, putting the health care of millions of Americans at risk. But Republicans are ready with a plan that offers relief until better reforms can be put in place.