- - Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Until quite recently, it seemed like a common understanding that the U.S. Supreme Court would strike down one of the most critical portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Liberal groups were employing scare tactics to encourage governors to set up state-based exchanges. Conservative groups were ready on every front to defend the Court’s decision that would have instantly forced millions of people to pay the true cost of the insurance they purchased through Obamacare.

Congress even had a plan that would almost immediately have started to scale back the ACA – likely bringing down health care costs at the same time. It was seemingly like the dream of a conservative activist who had fought against Obamacare for years. It was finally going to happen: President Obama’s signature law would be found unconstitutional because of a clear overreach of power.

Then, on June 25, six of the nine Supreme Court Justices delivered a ruling on King v. Burwell. Their decision – like an alarm clock waking the conservative activist from his dream – immediately brought the country back to the reality that the only way to eradicate Obamacare is to repeal and replace it.

First, we must answer a question. Why did the court uphold subsidies for individuals who purchase health insurance on an exchange established by the federal government? The law clearly reads that an individual only qualifies for a subsidy if he or she purchases insurance on an exchange “established by the state.”

The only answer that seems to make sense is that the court had no interest in interpreting the law for what it actually said. Six of the justices decided it would be easier for them to interpret the law for what they wanted it to say.

Justice Antonin Scalia said it best in his dissent: “Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is ‘established by the State.’ “

Clearly the court will continue to favor Obamacare. Now it is up to Congress to do what it was going to do in the event the justices struck down the subsidies: Start moving toward the goal of replacing the law.

Obviously the current president would never sign a bill that repealed and replaced his namesake legislation. In fact, Mr. Obama is still of the thought that the law is working.

But, just because the current president has no interest in ridding the country of a law that has driven up health care costs exponentially and saddled taxpayers with the bill, that does not mean that Congress should rest on its laurels until 2017 rolls around. Republican senators and representatives need to show they are more than just the “party of no” on this issue.

There needs to be a plan put in place by Congress that will take the power away from faceless, Washington bureaucrats and put it back into the hands of the patients. The new policy should open the doors to more competition from hospitals and insurance companies – not less like the ACA. And it must actively bring down the costs of health care, instead of just masking dramatic cost increases with taxpayer-funded subsidies.

Congress needs to offer a solution to this problem before the next president takes the Oath of Office. Otherwise, the president who takes that oath might think four more years of Obamacare is the best solution.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide