Waiting for bad news about the Affordable Care Act? Keep waiting. The Hill reported yesterday:
A total of 10.2 million people bought ObamaCare during the most recent sign-up period, federal officials announced Tuesday.The Obama administration is now officially on track to meet its self-stated 2015 target of 9.1 million customers, the second year in a row that it has achieved a revised enrollment goal.
In a press statement, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell noted what is plainly true: “The Health Insurance Marketplaces are working. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans now rely on the health and financial security that comes from affordable coverage through the Marketplaces.”
For a more detailed look at the latest tally, the estimable Charles Gaba’s report yesterday is a must-read. (Go for the meticulous analysis; stay for the pretty chart.)
An Associated Press report added the latest data also shows that “nearly 9 out of 10 adults now have health insurance.”
But the release of the heartening data, welcomed by those hoping to see the American system succeed, came against a scary backdrop: all of this success may be destroyed very soon and there’s very little affected families can do about it.
Over at Vox, Sarah Kliff explained that, based on the latest figures, roughly 6.4 million Americans would lose their ACA subsidies if Republican justices on the Supreme Court decide to gut the law.
Of [the 10.2 million consumers who signed up during the enrollment period], 7.5 million had purchased coverage through Healthcare.gov, the federally run marketplace. Of those people, 6.4 million are getting a federal subsidy to help cover their Obamacare premium. On average, they are getting $272 each month to help cover their premiums.These subsidies are at the heart of the Supreme Court case against Obamacare. In King v. Burwell, the challengers argue that the federal marketplace does not have the authority to distribute financial help. So if that case goes against Obamacare, there are 6.4 million people who will lose these subsidies.
You know the score: if consumers lose their subsidies, coverage becomes unaffordable, healthy people leave the market, premiums soar, and the “death spiral” kicks in.
All of this, of course, because of one of the most brazenly stupid Supreme Court cases in generations.
As for what Republicans might do if the self-imposed crisis causes systemic chaos, GOP policymakers, at least for now, haven’t the foggiest idea. After years of broken promises, Republicans still have no Obamacare alternative and don’t have a strategy to deal with a potential “victory” in which Republicans take health security away from 6.4 million American for no particular reason.
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, meanwhile, that a variety of red-state officials met in secret in Chicago recently to plot a way forward. They didn’t come up with much.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in King v. Burwell will come down this month. If the administration wins, Republicans lose. If Republicans win, Republicans also lose because they’ll have imposed a nightmare scenario on the country basically to spite a president they hold in contempt.