No rulings from Supreme Court today on Obamacare, same-sex marriage | Arkansas Blog

Monday, June 15, 2015

No rulings from Supreme Court today on Obamacare, same-sex marriage

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 10:29 AM

Court watchers are checking in closely each Monday this month. Mondays are the days the Court typically announces their decisions, and among the rulings to come include cases impacting the future of same-sex marriage and Obamacare

On the same-sex marriage issue, six cases from four states have been consolidated — the Court will rule on whether same-sex couples have a right to marry and whether state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. 

The Obamacare case, King v. Burwell, has nothing at stake in terms of constitutional law, but would have a mammoth impact on policy. The case, pushed by right-wing legal activists, focuses on strict textual interpretation. Four words in the law, when read in isolation, could be read to preclude the law's subsidies and cost-sharing reductions going to citizens in states with federally run health insurance marketplaces (as opposed to state-run marketplaces). The law's supporters argue that this amounts to poorly worded language and is not the law's intent — which seems plausible since the plaintiffs' reading would radically undercut the entire purpose and operation of the law. It's worth noting that everyone involved, including the states themselves, were operating under the assumption that subsidies would flow into states regardless of whether the marketplaces were state-run or federally run. But the plaintiffs argue that, hey, those four words say what they say.   

You'll never believe this, but people's opinions about the merits of the Obamacare lawsuit seem to track closely with their opinions of the law itself. Legal arguments aside, if the plaintiffs prevail in King v. Burwell (a real possibility), around 6.5 million Americans would, more or less immediately, lose the subsidies and cost-sharing reductions that make their health care affordable. Premiums would double, triple, or quadruple overnight, and millions would have no choice but to go without health insurance. 

Arkansas is technically a federal-state partnership marketplace, but for purposes of the King lawsuit, it counts as a federally run marketplace and would lose subsidies. That would hit 48,000 Arkansans. Just for the remainder of 2015, these low-to-middle-income people would lose more than $13 million in subsidies, in what amounts to a massive tax increase (if they somehow manage to keep their suddenly more expensive insurance) or a massive benefit cut (if they don't). 

Congress could fix this issue with a one-sentence clarification. But good luck if you're hoping that Congress will fix anything. The pressure would be on the states to move quickly to state-run marketplaces, setting up a potential repeat of the Medicaid expansion fight, with individual states deciding to opt in or out on. In that scenario, those 48,000 Arkansans would be dependent on the legislature. Again, good luck.  

In full disclosure: the stakes here are personal for me. My wife and I are among the Americans who would be financially devastated if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the anti-Obamacare activists' gambit. 

The Supreme Court added a day on which they will announce decisions: this Thursday. That gives three more scheduled days total before the Court takes off for the summer: Thursday, June 18, Monday, June 22, and Monday, June 29. 

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

  • DHS continues to reimburse Medicaid managed care company co-owned by Preferred Family Healthcare

    The Department of Human Services continues to use a provider-led Medicaid managed care company that is part-owned by Preferred Family Healthcare, despite a recent decision to cut other ties with the Springfield, Mo.-based nonprofit enmeshed in multiple corruption scandals.
    • Jul 13, 2018
  • State yanks PFH funds

    Another former executive with scandal-plagued mental health provider arrested.
    • Jul 5, 2018
  • Robin Raveendran and Person 9 in the Cranford/Preferred Family Healthcare web

    The federal criminal information released as part of former lobbyist Rusty Cranford's June 7 guilty plea on bribery charges describes a Person 9 who worked for the nonprofit healthcare provider Preferred Family Healthcare and was associated with Cranford. The description of Person 9 appears to match Robin Raveendran, the former PFH executive — and former longtime staffer at the state's Department of Human Services — who was arrested Thursday in a separate case, charged in Independence County with two felony counts of Medicaid fraud after an investigation by the state's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
    • Jun 29, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • Trump's strangulation of Obamacare

    If he can't kill it outright, Donald Trump will do all he can to cripple Obamacare. Vox has detailed reporting on deep cuts in federal spending that support nonprofit agencies that help people sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
    • Sep 18, 2017
  • Free Zinn book for Arkansas teachers

    Arkansas teachers! Get your free Howard Zinn book here! Whether Kim Hendren likes it or not.
    • Mar 3, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation