Does Congress Have a Back Up Plan if Supreme Court Guts ObamaCare?

On Wednesday President Obama’s top health official testified that if the Supreme Court issues a ruling King v. Burwell that turns the tables on ObamaCare it is up to Congress and the states to act. But what exactly is Congress going to do if the subsidies are declared illegal?

The Supreme Court will decide in the next couple of days if the subsidies are illegal outside state exchanges.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday. She stated that the administration is not offering an alternative plan. This means that Congress must act.

“If the court says that we do not have the authority to give subsidies, the critical decisions will sit with the Congress and states and governors to determine if those subsidies are available,” Burwell testified; she further stated that the administration would be “ready to communicate” and work with states to “do everything we can.”

Republican Congressional leaders are preparing for the possibility of a large amount of the subsidies being invalidated. This would result in millions of Americans being suddenly uninsured. With his legacy on the line, Obama would prefer that Congress tweak the laws to allow for subsidies to cover Americans in all the exchanges.

ObamaCare isn’t working. This isn’t the first time the law was challenged in the Supreme Court. In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled on a 5–4 vote, in the case National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, that the individual mandate is constitutional under Congress’s taxation powers, although the law could not have been upheld under Congress’s regulatory power under the Commerce Clause. The Court also determined that states could not be forced to participate in the Medicaid expansion, effectively allowing states to opt out of this provision. As written, the ACA withheld all Medicaid funding from states declining to participate in the expansion. The Supreme Court ruled that this withdrawal of funding was unconstitutionally coercive and that individual states had the right to opt out of the Medicaid expansion without losing preexisting Medicaid funding from the federal government. All provisions of ACA will continue in effect or will take effect as scheduled subject to the states’ determination on Medicaid expansion (source:

House and Senate Republicans are working out a plan to help those who may lose health insurance coverage if the Supreme Court decides that the state subsidies are illegal. For Americans like myself who are finding health insurance less affordable after ObamaCare, this decision could possibly be a victory and finally lead to the beginning of the repeal of the law. Once a Republican takes office as President in 2017, repealing and replacing ObamaCare with a health care law that creates more competition in the marketplace reducing costs for Americans must be a priority.  I am looking forward to hearing more about the Republican’s plan for replacing ObamaCare.

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