Friday, December 5, 2014

No Rosy Scenarios if Supreme Court Decides Against Federal Health Subsidies

I don’t think there are any rosy scenarios! It’s a complete disaster.

Timothy Just, JD, Washington and Lee Law Professor, commenting on what would happen if Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Health Subsidies

As everybody knows, we live in an age of doom and gloom, dark forebodings, and negative images. Racial discrimination is rampant, white police are killing blacks without cause, ISIS is beheading innocent Americans, and now the U.S. Supreme Court is on the verge of terminating subsidies to 4.6 million people who receive federal health exchanges in 37 states.

What happens if the Supreme Court invalidates these subsidies?

What are the consequences? Here are what legal scholars and pundits are predicting.

• The immediate impact would be the Internal Revenue Service would stop paying subsidies to those in federally run exchanges. In 2014, more than 4.6 million people were getting those subsidies but the number may grow to as many as 13.4 million by 2016,

• Most people can’t afford insurance without the tax credits, so many would have to go without insurance.

• The insurance industry, through its trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans, argued in a legal brief for a related case ending federal exchange subsidies could seriously undermine those markets, creating an insurance death spiral.

• Hospitals who are now receiving subsidized patients through the federal would take a hit , and many might to have to close or cut back on services.

• States could set up and run their own exchanges, which is improbable since many have already tried and failed, and the cost of doing so prohibitive.

• ObamaCare would unravel , or simply collapse or die because insurance-run market places are the backbone of the health law, as well as the essence of the individual and employer mandates.

• Congress could reopen or rewrite the law.

• Repeal would be unnecessary, and Republicans could create a more market-based law with retention of popular elements of the current law.

Perhaps, there will be a rosy-fingered dawn, For the moment, at least, it seems things couldn't get worse.

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