By Tom Quiner
The Supreme Court will soon decide the fate of Obamacare.
Specifically, when Congress stated that Obamacare subsidies only apply to customers on state-run exchanges rather than federal ones, did they really mean it, or were they playing games with us?
Conservatives stake out an old-fashioned position by saying you’ve got to go by the way the law is actually written.
Liberals, on the other hand, say you have to read between the lines, that legislation is a “living, breathing” collection of words that only the elite can properly interpret.
The Supreme Court has four solid liberal votes ready to vote against the actual wording of Obamacare. There are only three solid conservative votes willing to uphold the actual language of the bill.
Judges Roberts and Kennedy will decide the fate of Obamacare subsidies. If they uphold the actual language of the bill, the foundational principle of Obamacare is weakened. Consumers in 34 states (including Iowa) who bought policies on federal exchanges will lose their subsidies and see their premiums skyrocket.
The president will go into attack mode and call on Congress to fix the law by simply extending the subsidies to federal exchanges as well.
Republicans will resist and take the blame for the failure of a piece of legislation that not a single one voted for.
They must be prepared.
There is a simple fix, as presented by political commentator, Dick Morris: let the states decide.
In other words, Congress could leave it up to each individual state whether they stay in Obamacare, or exit the Rube Goldbergish system and return to a more market-oriented approach.
For example, if New York wants to continue in the top-down, bureaucratic approach of Obamacare which is run out of Washington D.C., they can.
If Iowa, on the other hand, preferred to opt out, regulation of health insurance would return to the Iowa Insurance Commissioner, Nick Gerhart, who would oversee a more bottom-up, patient-driven system.
Morris suggests that hybrid systems could be implemented as well, retaining elements of Obamacare.
In other words, the quick fix for Obamacare is to create a “pro choice” system, something Democrats claim to love when it comes to other issues.
It is politically impractical to throw out the entire system as long as Barack Obama is president. He has no other “accomplishment” to hang his hat on for his failed presidency. He’ll support it to the death.
The “pro choice” approach might attract some support from Democrats whose constituencies despise Obamacare. It turns the political problem over to the states.
Republicans need to be ready the second this case is decided this June.