Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Gearing up for the political battles to follow a SCOTUS decision against affordable care

Any moment/day/week now the Supreme Court will rule on King vs. Burwell. If the court finds in favor of the plaintiff, millions of folks are likely to lose their health insurance because of a slip-up in the law's language. Both political parties are maneuvering for positions in the aftermath of such a ruling. One interesting angle is explored by Greg Sargent at the Washington Post/Plum Line. A lot of those who stand to lose health care are in battleground states, and losing one's health insurance is not exactly popular in the polls.

Now a new Washington Post poll confirms the stakes here. It finds that in many key battleground states, a majority says the Court should not end subsidies for those on the federal exchange.

The Post poll finds that among Americans overall, 55 percent oppose a Court decision killing the subsidies, while only 38 percent support it. Independents oppose such a decision by 57-36, while Republicans are alone in supporting a decision against the ACA by 55-34.

Among the states in which the largest numbers of people may lose subsidies are Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and Ohio. Those are key presidential battlegrounds, and Republicans are defending Senate seats in five of them.

Will any of that influence the court? Probably not. But it might shape the next national election. Here is why.

... vulnerable GOP Senators in these states will likely be pressed to say whether they think Congressional Republicans should pass a simple fix to keep the subsidies going. The GOP presidential candidates will also be asked the same. And in those states, not only is there majority opposition to the Court gutting subsidies, but very large numbers of people — hundreds of thousands in some states, and 1.3 million in Florida — will be directly impacted.

If pressed hard enough, the GOPlin politicians who hate Obama[care] will need to offer up specifics and not platitudes. And those specifics will have to include elements of the law they hate. Sweet.

Over on the Dem side, President Obama spoke to the Catholic Health Association. Greg Sargent in another the Plum Line post summarizes the case Obama made for affordable care being "woven into the fabric of America". Here are the essential snippets.

In his speech, Obama made a moral case for the goal of universal health care; an ideological case that government-sponsored health insurance enhances economic opportunity and mobility without setting back American freedom; and a substantive case that the Affordable Care Act is working better than expected. He rattled off a number of anecdotes of people who now have better lives, thanks to the law. But perhaps the most important part of the speech was this one:

"Five years in, what we are talking about is no longer just a law. It’s no longer just a theory. This isn’t even about the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. This isn’t about myths or rumors that folks try to sustain. There is a reality that people on the ground day to day are experiencing. Their lives are better. This is now part of the fabric of how we care for one another. This is health care in America.…

"We’re not gonna go backwards. There’s something deeply cynical about the ceaseless, endless, partisan attempts to roll back progress. I understood folks being skeptical or worried before the law passed and there wasn’t a reality there to examine. But once you see millions of people having health care — once you see that all the bad things that were predicted didn’t happen — you’d think that it would be time to move on. Let’s figure out how to make it better.

"It seems so cynical to want to take coverage away from millions of people. To take care away from the people who need it the most. To punish millions with higher costs of care. And unravel what’s now been woven into the fabric of America."

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