ObamaCare is looking increasingly doomed–as the Supreme Court gears up for a third decision on the controversial healthcare law in 2015.
The latest legal challenge to ObamaCare, a pending Supreme Court case called King v. Burwell, comes from a specific phrase in the law itself–a few words that could end subsidies for millions of Americans, and make the law virtually unworkable.
The phrase in question deals with whether or not ObamaCare only allows federal subsidies in health care exchanges established by the individual states themselves. Currently, the vast majority of states have opted to join the federal health care exchange instead.
High-profile supporters of ObamaCare largely say the language is no more than a “typo” in the drafting of the bill, but ObamaCare’s chief architecture Jonathan Gruber was caught on camera admitting the opposite.
While lecturing about the law to a group of supporters, Gruber noted that the phrase at the center of King v. Burwell was far from a typo–it was intentional by ObamaCare’s drafters, to force states to build their own exchanges, rather than rely on the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov.
Gruber explained, “What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.
Remember, Gruber was widely praised by high-ranking Democrats like Nancy Pelosi in years past as the “architect” of ObamaCare.
While ObamaCare has largely been held up by the Supreme Court in the past, there’s evidence that they’re more willing to chisel away at this law than in past years–especially Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy, who are widely seen as the two votes that will determine ObamaCare’s fate.
Jonathan Adler, a law professor at Case-Western University, explains that both men have shown “textualist sympathies” in the past–meaning they’re more likely to read the law explicitly as written, banning subsidies for states using a federal exchange.
If this provision of ObamaCare is struck down, the law’s future would be very bleak. Without subsidies, health premiums would immediately skyrocket for millions of Americans–meaning an act of Congress would be needed to fix the law.
But with opposition from Republicans, who control both houses of Congress, such a fix would be highly unlikely without major concessions from Democrats.
While it’s still possible that ObamaCare could survive a third round with the Supreme Court in 2015, it’s becoming increasingly likely that the Supreme Court will finally strike a fatal blow on the still-unpopular law.