The Corner

An Exit Ramp from Obamacare

The Supreme Court should rule that the Obama administration has exceeded its legal authority by providing tax credits for people who buy health insurance on exchanges run by the federal government. No legislation authorizes those credits. If the Court ends the illegal credits, though, it will leave millions of Americans without affordable coverage–and also leave politicians who oppose Obamacare in a bind. Republicans will be under pressure to help these newly uninsured people–by setting up state exchanges (in the case of state officials) and by authorizing credits for federal exchanges (in the case of federal officials).

In the Wall Street Journal today, Yuval Levin and James Capretta suggest an alternative. If the Court strikes down the credits, Republicans should offer legislation to “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.” If the law were enacted, red states would not face a choice between entrenching Obamacare and leaving their citizens in the lurch. They would be a more attractive option than either of those. Levin and Capretta think that President Obama just might end up having to sign such a bill. But if Democrats blocked it, Republicans would at least be able to say that they had tried to solve the problem.

My only quibble is with the headline, “Time to Start Prepping ObamaCare Reforms.” What they’re talking about is better described as preparing an exit ramp from Obamacare.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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