Republicans officially take over Congress next month, but their leaders do not appear optimistic about fulfilling their campaign promises to repeal ObamaCare.
Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently said that scrapping the law was basically impossible because President Obama is “still there.” In other words, Republicans may have to settle for tweaking ObamaCare at the margins for the next two years.
Meanwhile, several lawsuits challenging key provisions of ObamaCare are wending their way through the judiciary. So while Congress may not repeal this misbegotten law, the courts soon could.
The case that’s captured the most recent attention, King v. Burwell, challenges the legality of insurance subsidies offered through the federal HealthCare.gov exchange.
The plaintiffs point to a section of ObamaCare known as 36B, which makes clear that subsidies can only come through exchanges “established by the State.” Thirty-seven states did not create their own exchanges. But the federal government went ahead and distributed subsidies through the exchanges it built and operated on their behalf.
ObamaCare’s backers had long dismissed this case as groundless — until the Supreme Court decided to hear it in March, with a decision expected in late June.
An analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that if the challengers win, the Affordable Care Act will unravel.
The 37 states relying on HealthCare.gov won’t be able to set up exchanges quickly, given the restrictions in the law, not to mention the cost. And any state that tries to circumvent the law “is sure to face legal challenges, which would introduce additional uncertainty and delay.”
“ACA supporters,” the authors concluded, “have good reason to worry.”
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