Must-Read: Sahil Kapur: A Republican Supreme Court Victory on Obamacare Could Backfire in 2016 Swing States

Must-Read: The four most interesting things about Chief Justice John Roberts’s decision in NFIB vs. Sibelius–the original ObamaCare case–were:

  • That Justices Thomas, Alito, Scalia, and Kennedy decided to write a dissent that was grounded neither in black-letter law nor in their deeply-held conceptions of justice nor in keeping the path open for relatively-conservative technocratic policymaking, but rather in tactical partisanship
  • That Justices Breyer and Kagan were willing to sign on to the intellectually-incoherent Medicaid expansion piece of the opinion in order to safeguard–or obtain–Chief Justice Roberts’s vote, and that Roberts was willing to horse-trade–or threaten–as part of this bargain.
  • That no Republican state governor and few Republican state legislators wanted to be confronted with the choice between causing substantial fiscal problems for their states by rejecting the Medicaid expansion or endorsing ObamaCare by accepting the Medicaid expansion.
  • That Chief Justice Roberts and his clerks did not have antennae sensitive enough to pick up on the fact that nearly all Republican office-holders at the state level would be furious at the court for forcing them to make the Medicaid expansion choice.

All this makes it very difficult to forecast whether Chief Justice Roberts will join the four partisan horsemen who wanted to hear King vs. Burwell, deliver another astonishing blow to both the health-care system and the public finances of red states, and confront red-state Republican office-holders with yet another lose-lose political dilemma with respect to exchange establishment:

Sahil Kapur: A Republican Supreme Court Victory on Obamacare Could Backfire in 2016 Swing States: “If Republicans get their way at the Supreme Court this month…

…and wipe out Obamacare premium subsidies for millions of Americans, the ensuing damage to their party in 2016… would be particularly perilous in swing states…. Florida… 1.3 million residents would lose an average of $294 per month in health insurance tax credits and face a remarkable 359 percent premium hike…. Wisconsin… 166,000 residents… $315 in monthly tax credits… 252 percent premium increase…. Ohio… where Senator Rob Portman faces reelection, 161,000 people… $255… 190 percent premium hike…. Iowa… 34,000 people… $263… 244…. New Hampshire… Senator Kelly Ayotte is up for reelection… 30,000… $264 in tax credits… 218 percent premium hike…. Pennsylvania… Senator Pat Toomey faces a reelection fight… 349,000 residents… $227… 177 percent…. Indiana…160,000 people…$320… 271 percent…. North Carolina… 458,000 residents… $316… 336 percent….

Meanwhile, Obamacare beneficiaries in states like California and New York, which set up their own exchanges, would be untouched…. Congressional Republicans have not coalesced around a contingency plan…. ‘We could be looking at a moment of chaos,’ [Senator] Johnson told Bloomberg…. Walker said Congress must act…. ‘States didn’t create this problem, the federal government did. And they should fix it.’ House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said this week Republicans won’t release their response legislation before of the Court’s ruling…. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso… met with House Republicans to emphasize that the party needs to be ready to respond quickly…

June 4, 2015

Connect with us!

Explore the Equitable Growth network of experts around the country and get answers to today's most pressing questions!

Get in Touch