Fretting on the Far Right

It may be that for once, progressives need not be on the defensive.  With the Supreme Court’s deciding yet another challenge to Obamacare in a few weeks, conservatives appear to be the ones on edge.  At least, some conservatives are.

And they have reason to be.  Of the 34 states that might lose health insurance for millions of their citizens, 26 have Republican governors, and 22 have Republican Senate seats up for possible grabs in 2016.

Plaintiffs in the hearing before the Supreme Court took the tack that the ACA’s wording allows the federal government to subsidize coverage only in states that set up their own health insurance markets. If the Supreme Court invalidates subsidies in those states, an estimated 8 million people could lose coverage.

That wouldn’t happen, though, without some serious fallout.  Sandy Praeger, a former Kansas insurance commissioner, said recently "People who are reasonably healthy would just drop coverage. . .and. . .only the unhealthy would keep buying health care. [That in and of itself] would really exacerbate the problem of the cost of health insurance."  Praeger, a Republican who retired this year, went even further, saying a ruling against Obamacare could bring about "a classic death spiral."  That’s insurance-speak for a collapse of the health insurance market.

A piece posted by talkingpointsmemo.com on May 25th summed up the situation nicely:

“If the subsidies survive, the Affordable Care Act will look like settled law to all but its most passionate opponents. But if they are overturned, the shock could carry into next year's elections.”

We should know if and how this knot gets untied sometime before the end of June.

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Michele Petrovsky holds a Master's Degree in Computer Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She spent over two decades teaching in colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and currently publishes two blogs: Thoughts4Change and I Owe It All to J Thaddeus Toad. Petrovsky resides in Glen Mills, PA.


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