Bench Memos

How to Prepare for Victory in Obamacare Exchange-Subsidies Case

In an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal, my Ethics and Public Policy Center colleagues Yuval Levin and Jim Capretta highlight the “urgent challenge” that the prospect of a Supreme Court victory in King v. Burwell poses for us Obamacare opponents. If the Supreme Court rules that subsidies are not available for individuals who buy health insurance through the federal exchange,

about four million individuals who are currently receiving these subsidies would lose them. For these people, the highly regulated and expensive coverage mandated by the law’s insurance rules might not be affordable. Governors and legislators in those 36 states that declined to set up exchanges may confront intense pressure to quickly restore access to subsidies.   

Yuval and Jim urge congressional Republicans to create a better alternative in advance of the Court’s ruling:

The first step is to introduce legislation that would allow any state to opt out of all of ObamaCare’s mandates, regulations, taxes and requirements, and instead opt into a far simpler and more flexible alternative system. In that system, state residents not offered health coverage by their employers could receive a federally funded, age-based credit for the purchase of any state-approved health-insurance product—including those bought outside of any exchange and regardless of whether they meet ObamaCare’s coverage requirements.

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