In ObamaCare decision, justices could wreak havoc on the GOP

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I hope it does not happen. I hope that temptation is avoided, that cooler, saner heads will prevail in the U.S. Supreme Court, and that justices will decide not to gut the core of ObamaCare. (We may get a glimpse of their intentions next week, when the court hears arguments in King v. Burwell).

But if they do decide to seize this opportunity, chaos will reign. More than 7 million Americans — almost half a million in Georgia alone — will be stripped of the subsidies that make their health insurance affordable. Those who are healthy would probably decide to drop their coverage; those who are sick and need the insurance would probably keep it if at all possible. That would set off the dreaded “death spiral” in which insurance costs skyrocket for everyone, making it unaffordable for many.

As the Commonwealth Fund describes the process:

“… insurers would suddenly have a risk pool filled with high-need, high-cost people, after having priced their 2015 premiums based on a balanced pool containing both healthy and sick people. Claims would quickly outpace premium revenue as insurers lose most of their low-cost, healthy customers but retain customers whose medical costs exceed their premiums.”

Insurers will withdraw from the market. Even those customers who don’t use a subsidy to buy insurance will see the price of coverage soar by almost 50 percent, according to a RAND study. Hospitals and doctors will lose paying customers. It will be a complete and absolute mess, and the job of cleaning it up will fall largely to Republicans who are totally unprepared for that responsibility.

That prospect ought to terrify GOP leadership, and it probably does. They simply have no idea what to do about it.

Let us count the reasons why the GOP will be held responsible for what happens:

1.) In the wake of a Supreme Court ruling gutting ObamaCare, Republicans will party like it’s 1999, and understandably so. They will have slain their Moby Dick and they will be dancing around its carcass.  However, as they gleefully take credit for bringing the program down, in the eyes of the public they will also be taking responsibility for what happens afterwards. The perception will be that they broke it, they will have to fix it.

2.) In addition, any solution to the post-decision chaos at the federal level will have to come via legislation passed through Congress. Who controls both the House and the Senate? Republicans do, although “control” is not exactly the right word.  Congress is so deeply dysfunctional that it can’t even perform mundane tasks, let alone craft a complicated, ideologically fraught rescue of one-sixth of the American economy in a matter of weeks or months. With a presidential election looming, the GOP’s inability to govern will be put under an extremely harsh spotlight.

3.) Compounding the problem, Republicans have been promising to “repeal and replace” ObamaCare for five years now.  The phrase has been repeated so often as to become imprinted on the national memory. However, the general public has no real understanding yet that the “replace” part of that phrase is a total joke. Republican leaders have never done the difficult work of crafting a workable alternative, nor have they spent the time and energy needed to build a consensus within their own highly argumentative party in support of such an alternative.

4.) And who will be most affected by a decision that subsidies can’t be paid through federal insurance exchanges? In the largely blue states that have already set up their own state-run exchanges, ObamaCare will go on pretty much as before. People will still get their subsidies; they will get to keep their coverage. The chaos will come in red, Republican-run states such as Georgia that stubbornly refused to take part in the program.

In short, the millions who lose their subsidies and health insurance will tend to be white and they will tend to be Southern. Most will be working people; most will be lower- and middle-class. They will, in short, tend to vote Republican.

And when they turn for help to their state legislators — remember, the whole problem could be solved almost immediately by setting up a state exchange — they will be told no. There is no way in hell that Republican state legislators will vote to “save” ObamaCare right after a major Supreme Court decision that guts it. That’s sure going to get interesting.

Again, the best course is that none of this happens, that the justices take a somber look at the implications of the case and decide not to push the country ‘s health-care system into an abyss. But if they do, the Republicans’ moment of greatest triumph will quickly become their biggest nightmare.

 

Reader Comments 0

867 comments
BigTimeJacketFan
BigTimeJacketFan

Many folks are already being annihilated by emperornerocare right now.  They are paying a quarter to a third of their income on their premiums, not to mention federal withholding, social security, and medicare.  My parents' premiums tripled under emperornerocare.  This unmitigated disaster has been a combination of wealth redistribution and a freedom grab by our wonderful government; it has nothing to do with getting medical care to certain populations.  Whether the supreme court does anything about it or not, it is not going to last.  Everything will go underground.

ProHumanitate
ProHumanitate

There will be "implications" for more than the "moocher" stereotype some folks here are fond of lambasting if ACA is thrown out.

How about the entrepreneurs who have started successful companies in GA that are still too small to qualify for group rates?


We make far too much money to qualify for individual subsidies, but were finally able to purchase a decent high deductible family plan through ACA. WITHOUT having to give blood samples, years of medical records, or having to negotiate the inevitable declaration that one or another of our perfectly healthy family members was deemed "uninsurable", like we used to have to do.


If Georgia wants to grow its economy, it will set up a state exchange so more people can start businesses. Fewer people are inclined to do that now because their family's health is tethered to their job.

So yes, this "non-moocher" with a job and plenty of money would be really ticked off to lose this insurance, or to see the premiums go up by 50% or more. And I WILL blame the republicans if it happens.

GB101
GB101

The judges should not consider the implications.  They should decide based on what the law says.  Dealing with the implications is Congress's job.  



WilSmith
WilSmith

Jay - don't worry somehow, someway republican politicians will blame the President and republican voters will believe them. Heck look at the whole rural hospital closure mess - just by simply accepting Medicaid funding from the ACA many of Georgia's rural hospitals would have positive balance sheets instead of being forced to close due to lack of funding. So who gets blamed for the closures, not the Governor and the General Assembly who turn the money down, but the Democrats and the President. Go figure.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

From Pew:

“At The Pew Charitable Trusts, return on investment is not measured in profits but in long-lasting, positive, powerful change.”

------------------

Yup.  We can conclude they are left leaning too.  Leftists always say we NEED change that is profound= obama, clinton, carter... 

honested
honested

@Yes_Jesus_Can 

Just like conserrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrvatives need change, from prosperity (like 1993-2000) to poverty (2001-2008).

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2015/02/23/cable-news-ratings-for-friday-february-20-2015/366245/

TD,

It's interesting a plurality who responded to the survey watched CNN.  Fox is the cable big-daddy, to a degree that surprises me. 

I wonder how biased Pew might be or how they got this survey. 

From my perspective, because it seems to have such close ties to and sponsors NPR, Pew ought to be suspect for its bias.  In other words, a foundation, which Pew is, has people running it, who are free to exercise their own biases, and yet the foundation is ostensibly objective. 

Wonder what they think of globalwarmingclimatechangepausedon'tknowwhat'shappening? 

kitty72
kitty72

SHEETZ and I was first...Nener nener nener. :)

TBS
TBS

LT

While I don't agree with your take that the Ds and Rs are one in the same even though they do overlap on some crucial and not so middle to lower economic status friendly legislation you are dead on with the lefty thing. 

What passes for a good many on this blog for being a lefty is amusing to say the least.

A few social issues and any mention that you are not for lowering taxes and you may as well be a 1970s member of the Politburo. 


td1234
td1234

I have posted several times that CNN, ABC and CBS are left leaning while NBC, NY Times, Huff post are further to the left and then others are really out there. I have posted that Fox, Townhall, Daily Caller and Newsmax are right leaning while Rush and Hannity, Bretbart are conservative in nature. 


Why can the progressives not be honest about the news media? 


Pew backs up my assertions as far as how viewers get thier news. 


A whopping 44% of those who responded to Pew's survey said they got news from CNN in the past week. Other network and cable news outlets — Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, and MSNBC — took the remaining top five spots.

Fox's audience leans conservative, while CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC have audiences that lean left.



Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-your-preferred-news-outlet-says-about-your-political-ideology-2014-10#ixzz3SyUjWF1d

TBS
TBS

@td1234


All that has exactly what to do with your Reuters assertion?

You looking funny running around with that goal post in your attempt to prove something. 

td1234
td1234

@TBS @td1234 It means it is my opinion that Reuters leans left (liberal). If you do not like my opinion then say you do not like it instead of running around looking for a gotcha moment and looking like an idiot. 

honested
honested

@td1234 @TBS 

I don't like your opinion, but hey I don't watch wrong wing teevee or read wrong wing media so I guess we are equal.

TBS
TBS

@td1234 @TBS


LLOOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

So as usual you are saying you have nothing

Just another day in your world of bs assertions

TBS
TBS

When one takes a look at the Reuters executive team and board of directors it screams of a leftist ideology.

Almost communist in nature.  I'm sure they push that leftist ideology all the way down to the lowest levels of the company. 

http://thomsonreuters.com/about-us/executive-team/

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@TBS 

Very interesting that they are vast majority white guys.

I doubt very much that corporate boards covered by their reporters which are so constituted would get a pass from the PC police. 

thanks for the info, TBS.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@TBS

Can't you just see the Lenin portrait hanging in the head editorial office now? 

TBS
TBS

@LeninTime @TBS


I wouldn't be surprised if they come right out and ask about allegiances to Lenin and communist thought in the initial phone screen.

If you are not a lefty you do not even make it to an in person interview. 

LeninTime
LeninTime

Concerning Chicago's pension woes, here is the analysis that you're not likely to find in any mainstream outlet: 

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors

If you’ve read the financial news out of Chicago the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard that the city faces a major pension shortfall, supposedly because police officers, firefighters, teachers and other public workers are selfishly bleeding the city dry.

You’ve also probably heard that the only way investment banker-turned-mayor Rahm Emanuel can deal with the seemingly dire situation is to slash his public workers’ retirement benefits and to jack up property taxes on those who aren’t politically connected enough to have secured themselves special exemptions.

This same story, portraying public employees as the primary cause of budget crises, is being told across the country. Yet, in many cases, we’re only being told half the tale. We aren’t told that the pension shortfalls in many US states and cities were created because those same states and cities did not make their required pension contributions over many years. And perhaps even more shockingly, we aren’t being told that, while states and cities pretend they have no money to deal with public sector pensions, many are paying giant taxpayer subsidies to corporations — often far larger than the pension shortfalls.

http://pando.com/2014/04/04/revealed-rahm-emanuel-cuts-public-pensions-diverts-money-to-benefit-campaign-donors/


LeninTime
LeninTime

@Tuna Meowt

It's all a transparent fraud. A cover for an explicit program of predation and looting.

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@LeninTime Remarkable how businessfolk counseled against forgiving or modifying any home loans during the Great Recession, due to the assumption that to do so would reduce or eliminate "moral hazard" for homeowners in relieving them of a contractual burden


YET


Businessfolk seem to have little problem with eliminating their contractual promise w/r/t pensions and they don't see the moral hazard in failing to live up to THAT contractual burden.


Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@LeninTime 

You and I disagree on a whole lot, LT, but your allegations of crony-capitalilsm in government are usually spot-on......

...........now, if I could just get you to see the letality of being anti-crony or a non-person who is seen as an enemy of the regime in the old Soviet Union...!

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@LeninTime 

Not quite the whole story on Illinois-Chicago, where I have close kin living.


Their pension problems also were caused by past governors from about 2000 (starting with Blago, now in prison for bribery) looting the pension reserve funds and switching them into the general fund. Now the reserve fund is pretty well gone.

Last year the state legislature changed the retirement laws and also cut present retiree benefits. (This year about 30% of the state budget went to pay pension benefits.) This caused a lawsuit from retirees and unions, because the state constitution prohibits any cuts to retirement payments of public employees. Judge ruled in favor of the retirees/unions...and that is now under appeal to their State Supreme Court, on the grounds that the public welfare demands the cuts. In about 10 years 60% of the state budget would go for pension and healthcare benefits.

I wonder how Mayor Emanuel's actions will strike their Supreme Court, still adjudicating.



fedup52
fedup52

You've got to remember the current mindset is anything that doesn't veer hard to the right is totally left leaning media.

+++

Like they say in NASCAR:


Making another left turn.  LOL

Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

As to social programs being the anchor-  absolutely not.  Wars are infinitely more costly as to capital and obviously human lives.


Folks have no chance when more power is in hands of gov't as gov't, when corrupt, has the ability to make and enforce the rules and laws as it deems fit.  One can shop at WalMart, Target, or go to the local five and dime.  One cannot tell the IRS, NSA, or local police force to "pound sand as I will shop somewhere else"

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Cupofjoe 

"One cannot tell the IRS, NSA, or local police force to "pound sand as I will shop somewhere else"

Sure you can.  The US isn't the only store in town.

josef
josef

I jus' loves me some liberal elitism...

josef
josef

@Nick_Danger @honested @josef 


True, dat! LOL,



honested
honested

@josef 

Glad to oblige!

Of course, being 'liberal' does require me to take several steps to the right.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@honested @josef 

Don't take too many steps.  Once you go all the way around the circle, you'll find yourself back at the beginning again.

josef
josef

@honested @josef 


Well, you're decidedly to my right...and interesting you knew who I was thinking about when I posted that. Woof woof!

josef
josef

@fedup52 @josef 


Wasn't aiming that at you, but if you're in the shoe market....  LOL

honested
honested

@josef @honested 

If I were to your 'right' that would be dangerous for both of us!

However, I appreciate the barb!

LeninTime
LeninTime

@td1234 

Reuters has not been "mainstream" since the 1980's. They are a left leaning to totally left news source

***
Completely laughable claim. And I notice you haven't responded with any evidence to back that up.

Maybe the problem is one of definitions.

Sure Reuters has left-leaning writers on its staff, but that doesn't make it 'left wing'.  The New York Times also has left-leaning writers, but no one would claim that it, as a whole, is not mainstream.

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@LeninTime @td1234 "but no one would claim"

No one?  You sure of that?  I'd say they'd have trouble proving that claim...but that won't stop some from making that claim.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Doggone_GA @LeninTime @td1234

By the way, a funny little side note about that exchange was that td, perhaps without realizing it, was in effect conceding that 'mainstream' media is not left wing.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@LeninTime @td1234 

Rush Limbaugh is very mainstream by that definition then. 

I suppose however, that Limbaugh would not be mainstream to a NY Times editor, nor to most Times readers, and thereby, proving a point, that Reuters, which supplies dispatches and stories to the Times and to other leftist media outlets, is indeed a left-leaning organization in its entirety. 

honested
honested

@LeninTime @td1234 

If telling the truth is 'leftist' then they are left leaning.

In a world where news is filtered to suit wrong-wing ideology, everything focused on the facts must be 'leftist'.

Brosephus
Brosephus

@LeninTime 
You've got to remember the current mindset is anything that doesn't veer hard to the right is totally left leaning media.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@Brosephus @LeninTime 

OK Bro I'll bite,

I'd love to see you name some hard-right media outlets (you must exclude talk radio because it isn't news).  MSNBC which has been falling leftward ever more for a decade now is shown to be 85% opinion in its time usage, yet many of its shows are not so labeled, as contrasted to Fox, which are. 

Go ahead.  Let me know if you come up with anything. 

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@Yes_Jesus_Can @Brosephus @LeninTime "MSNBC which has been falling leftward ever more for a decade now is shown to be 85% opinion in its time usage, yet many of its shows are not so labeled, as contrasted to Fox, which are."


MSNBC is *much* clearer in distinguishing between hard news and commentary coverage than FNC.


If you're not cluing in, then IMO you're either not watching MSNBC yourself or else you're not paying attention.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Yes_Jesus_Can

I'd love to see you name some hard-right media outlets

Breitbart

The Daily Caller

American Spectator

The National Review

The Weakly Standard

The Washington Times

The New York Post

Just to name a few....