On Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell appeared before the House Ways and Means committee to discuss the nation’s health care plan called Obamacare. She was quite blunt about what the administration can or even will do in the event the Supreme Court rules against low-income subsidies for the federal exchange; it will simply be the duty of congress to provide a solution.
The quick fix would be for Congress to simply pass a law explicitly allowing the subsidies to apply to the federal exchange. However, that would only address the issue of subsidies. The real underlying problem is the failure of the Affordable Care Act to control health care costs. Participating insurers have already made it clear they will hike premiums by double-digits next year. Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan was quick to point out that fact when stating the law is unsustainable. Higher health care premiums will result in higher costs for the federal government in the taxpayer funded subsidies to the poor, higher costs for the state to pay their share of the program’s costs, and higher premiums for health care recipients.
While the GOP has not offered a single solution that has their party’s support much less bipartisan support, the party’s leaders expressed confidence they will have an answer in the event they prevail in the lawsuit. The loss of subsidies would present the GOP with their single-biggest opportunity to amend the health care law with a center-right solution. Thus far, their measures to repeal or reform the unpopular law have failed to gain passage.
Thanks to Brian Bonar for showing me this story!