Tuesday, November 11, 2014

2014 U.S. Elections and the Affordable Care Act: Conservatives Brimming with Excitement at Prospect of Removing Healthcare Coverage from Millions

Some commentary worth reading from recent days about the effects of the 2014 elections on the Affordable Care Act:

If the five conservative Supreme Court justices are so inclined, they can void ACA subsidies for millions of beneficiaries, and cripple the insurance markets in about three dozen states. 
Some of those beneficiaries will be the kinds of transplant recipients and other patients I wrote about three and a half years ago. Except today there are many more of them. Several of these patients explained the risk to their lives in an amicus brief, urging a different circuit court to reject the challenge to the subsidies, and thus to the viability of the insurance markets their lives depend on.  . . . 
Conservatives are brimming with excitement over the Court's decision to hear the challenge.

Igor Volsky at Think Progress: if the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare's subsidies, here is what will happen:

1) Millions of people will see triple digit premium hikes. 2) Millions of people will lose health care coverage. 3) Obamacare will face a death spiral. 4) Insurers will advocate for repealing market protections. 5) States will lose billions of dollars. 6) The health of Americans living in red states will worsen.

What has been most instructive during the debate over Halbig is the sheer glee of its proponents at the pain and suffering that would occur were they to prevail. Millions of Americans left without affordable care? What's the upside to that? 
As Northwestern University political scientist Andrew Koppelman put it earlier this year, "The opponents of Obamacare have from the beginning found themselves driven by the logic of their position to make arguments that are increasingly morally repulsive."

Once upon a time, this lawsuit would have been literally laughed out of court. Instead, however, it has actually been upheld in some lower courts, on straight party-line votes — and the willingness of the Supremes to hear it is a bad omen. 
So let’s be clear about what’s happening here. Judges who support this cruel absurdity aren’t stupid; they know what they’re doing. What they are, instead, is corrupt, willing to pervert the law to serve political masters. And what we’ll find out in the months ahead is how deep the corruption goes.

On Tuesday, there was something of an ideological shift in our politics. You may have noticed. Then, yesterday, a federal circuit court of appeals pretty much shoved the question of marriage equality in the direction of the Supreme Court. And then, today, the Supreme Court accepted review of King v. Burwell, the completely preposterous ruling in which the D.C. Court of Appeals said that the people who drafted the law didn't mean what they clearly meant. 

[T]he Republican incumbents survived, deflating hopes for expansion to cover potentially several million low-income Americans. There’s even a possibility that "private option" pioneer Arkansas, a model for other conservative states, will roll back.

The headscratcher illustration is from The Evening Ledger (Philadelphia, May 4, 1916), and was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Johnny Automatic of Open Clip Art Library. 

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