A general view of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, Dec. 30, 2014.
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty

Why David King’s indifference matters

Sometime before the end of the month – and quite possibly as early as this morning – the Supreme Court will issue a ruling in King v. Burwell. It’s an extremely important case, and the health security of millions of American families hangs in the balance.
 
Those of us who follow health care closely have explored the litigation in great detail, weighing the case on the merits, examining the potential consequences, even recognizing the degree to which the court’s legitimacy is arguably on the line. But what about the plaintiffs? Who’s the King in King v. Burwell?
 
There are actually four plaintiffs in the case – a Virginia man named David King is listed first, so the case bears his name – and one of the four suggested earlier this year that she hopes her side loses so Americans don’t have to suffer. It’s quite a case.
 
But the New York Times today takes a closer look at David King himself, who’s confident of a court victory, and seems completely indifferent to the consequences of success.
…Mr. King said that he was not really worried about the outcome of the case, King v. Burwell, because as a Vietnam veteran, he has access to medical care through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
 
If he wins, Mr. King said, “the left will blow it out of proportion and claim that eight million people will lose their health insurance.” But he said lawyers had assured him that “things are in play to take care of the problem.”
There’s something oddly perfect about this.
 
The man who hates “Obamacare” so much that he put his name on a genuinely ridiculous federal lawsuit is eager to take a sledgehammer to the American health care system. But he’s unconcerned about whether gutting the Affordable Care Act will hurt him personally – because King can take advantage of taxpayer-financed, government-run health care.
 
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a better example of the “I’ve got mine” phenomenon. How perfect is this? How can anything be more emblematic of the madness behind the right’s anti-healthcare crusade?
 
As for the “assurances” King has received, the plaintiff may be surprised by the outcome. The effects of his litigation may very well be devastating to millions of people who’ve done nothing to deserve being treated like collateral damage in a political war. If the justices side with King, some Americans even die as a direct result of the ruling.
 
But he’s not worried – some Republican lawyers have told him some Republican policymakers will someday find some solution to “take care of the problem.” And apparently, that’s good enough for him.
 
Postscript: King is 64. Soon, he’ll be eligible for Medicare, a taxpayer-financed, socialized system of insurance. If he’s anything like most Americans, he’ll like Medicare very much, his lawsuit to deny basic health security to millions of families notwithstanding.
 

Affordable Care Act, Health Care, Obamacare and Supreme Court

Why David King's indifference matters