Don’t take it from me, take it from Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York state and a public policy expert, especially regarding health care. Here’s what she has to say:
Last week health insurers announced they will hike premiums on Obamacare plans by double digits in 2016. That’s not a problem for consumers eligible for Obamacare’s taxpayer-funded subsidies. Their cost is calculated based on their income.
It’s you — the taxpayers — who get gouged when premiums are hiked, because you foot the bill for the subsidies. That makes the Supreme Court ruling in King v. Burwell, expected some day this month, even more consequential. It will determine the fate of these subsidies. Without them, Obamacare buyers in 37 states will have to pay the actual — and unaffordable — sticker price of Obamacare. And taxpayers will be off the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.
Naturally, the Left can’t stand the thought of your being able to keep even a penny more of your hard-earned money, so they’re doing their customary Chicken Little Dance about a law that didn’t even exist a few years ago, has been changed largely by executive fiat in the interim, and itsn’t even fully implemented yet:
Democrats are predicting disaster if the court rules against President Obama. Republicans will “rue the day” they let millions of people lose their subsidies, says House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. That’s crazy talk. No one will lose their coverage immediately, the poor will be unaffected, and the biggest losers will be insurance companies. Employers, job seekers and taxpayers stand to win.
At issue in the upcoming Burwell decision is whether the law meant what it said when it clearly stated that subsidies would be available only to people who “bought” coverage via the exchange in their state. But since most states told Obama to take a hike and either refused to establish an exchange or — worse — started an exchange, which then collapsed (Oregon, Vermont, Hawaii — all lefty states), only a minority of the subsidized poor will still be eligible for more of your money.
Insurance companies are lobbying furiously for a congressional fix. The dirty secret is that insurers stand to lose the most from King v. Burwell. The Affordable Care Act compels the public to buy their product, and forces taxpayers to subsidize it. What a sweetheart deal. The giant players — United Healthcare, Cigna, Aetna, Anthem and Humana — have seen their stock prices double, triple, even quadruple since the law was passed in 2010. The coming ruling threatens to put an end to their gravy train.
Meanwhile outside Washington D.C., a ruling against the subsidies will benefit employers and job seekers. Any of the 37 states that wants to can set up an exchange and immediately qualify for the subsidies. But most are controlled by the Republican Party and won’t do it. Without subsidies, the employer mandate is toothless, because employers are only fined for not offering coverage if their workers go to an exchange and get a subsidy. Nullifying the impending employer mandate, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2016, would likely ignite a hiring boom.
You remember hiring booms, don’t you? They’re what used to happen after the country emerged from a recession, especially a deep one, as the free market shook off the hit and went back to work. But that was before the Obama administration and Obamacare. No matter what happens in Burwell, though, you probably won’t see another one until Jan. 20, 2017 — unless Hillary! is elected president. In that case, it’s four to eight more years of economic winter for everybody except the connected.