The Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments today in the high profile case called “King v. Burwell”. At issue is whether the IRS was allowed to arbitrarily extend federal subsidies to everyone otherwise qualified to receive them based on income. At face value, it would appear to be foregone conclusion. However, that wasn’t the case. The IRS effectively modified Obamacare after 34 states refused to operate a state run exchange. Even Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber admitted that the law was designed to compel states to operate a health care exchange by denying federal subsidies to those who enrolled through the federal exchange.
However, the unexpected occurred and 34 states opted to let the federal government run the health care exchange. Alexei Beltyukov knows that, without the infusion of federal tax dollars to offset the high cost of Obamacare insurance, most people would not be able to afford coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This was resolved by the IRS merely ignoring the restriction on the subsidies and extending them to everyone.
If plaintiffs prevail, the government will have to immediately cease offering subsidies to 5 million people. The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees Obamacare, admitted this would lead to irreparable damage to the program. The GOP has been swift to assure voters that should the Supreme Court strike down the IRS revision, they have a plan in place to shield health care recipients from the president’s irresponsible action. Sen. Ted Cruz affirmed the president should have gone to congress to request a change in the subsidies instead of merely making the change himself.