The Republican red line on Obamacare subsidies
If the Supreme Court invalidates federal health insurance subsidies for individuals living in up to 37 states, Republicans would be open to a variety of policy responses to keep financial assistance flowing to those already enrolled in President Obama's healthcare law.That's an excellent question. My guess is not; that they'll throw a collective hissy fit and demand a permanent solution on their terms, and wind up making the states clean up the mess.
But conversations with Republican lawmakers and aides in both the House and Senate indicate there is one red line that the GOP won't be willing to cross. Simply put: A GOP Congress will never permanently extend the subsidies that were just declared illegal so that new enrollees could claim Obamacare benefits.
"This should be a short-term fix," Rep. Bill Flores, R-Tex., who serves as chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said of a response to a potential Supreme Court decision. "There shouldn't be anything that allows this short-term fix to ultimately become a permanent extension of the subsidies."
Though there are currently differences among Republicans on the details of any response, when it comes to this red line, Flores said, the view among Republicans "is about as close to unanimous as you can get."
This means that the question of whether financial assistance survives any Supreme Court decision will hinge on whether Obama and his fellow Democrats are willing to accept some sort of temporary solution.
If SCOTUS guts subsidies, voters want Congress to fix Obamacare
According to a survey conducted by the Foundation for Government Accountability, more Americans believe the law has hurt, not helped the country. At the same time, as discovered in other polling data, the effects on families seems to have hit a ceiling; only 37 percent feels that Obamacare has detrimentally impacted their family, while 46 percent say there hasn’t been much of a difference, or they’re unsure. The FGA poll was conducted March 3-9 of 2015. It had a sample size of 1,564 adults who both voted in the 2014 midterm elections and live in one of the 34 states that have not established an Obamacare exchange.There is certainly plenty of blame to go around, but why doesn't Obama get some discredit as well?
Yet, if King tosses the subsidies, 46 percent blame Congress for botching the language of the law. Thirteen percent aren’t sure, and the IRS and the State virtually receive an equal share of the blame at 22 and 20 percent respectively. . .
Overall, 63 percent of Americans want Congress to make changes to Obamacare; with 75 percent saying the changes should encompass everyone, not just the Americans impacted by the decision. For starters, 78 percent of voters, including 57 of Democrats support providing more choices into the health care market (i.e. being able to buy the types of plans that used to be sold pre-2014). . .People understand that the "four sizes fits all" might work for moo-moos but not for shoes and health insurance.
Additionally, subsidies can only be allocated to government-approved health care plans on the Obamacare exchange. Sixty-eight percent of voters want those subsidies to follow all health care plans. Sixty-three percent of Democrats agreed. Lastly, the enrollment periods should be open-ended. Right now, the law only allows a brief three-month period for Americans to sign up on the exchanges. Again, there’s an enormous bipartisan consensus regarding allowing Americans to purchase insurance throughout the year, with 77 percent of voters agreeing with such a reform that includes 68 percent of Democratic voters.Subsidies, of course, are the real rub. They're easy to give away, as long as you're running a deficit anyway, and hard to take away.