Sometime in June, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to publish its opinion deciding whether the Obama administration acted outside the law in extending federal subsidies to citizens in states without a local ObamaCare exchange.
If the Court’s ruling adheres to the rule of law, the subsidies will be disallowed. Predictably, this is making some Republicans nervous that Americans getting the ObamaCare the Democrats passed will blame the GOP.
And so, there are a growing number of proposals to overrule the Court, at least until 2017 when (hopefully) a Republican president will be in office.
The latest plan in this line of thinking was unveiled Tuesday by U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI). “Johnson’s plan would allow people to keep their ObamaCare plans and their subsidies until August 2017,” reports The Hill. “The bill would also repeal ObamaCare’s mandates for individuals and employers to provide insurance…”
Of the proposals currently available, Johnson’s is the only one that makes no change to ObamaCare as it currently is. All it does is ensure the program lasts until about eight months into the next president’s first year in office.
The question is: What’s the point? If Johnson’s bill were to become law, it would put large numbers of Republicans on record as saying that despite the plain meaning of the statute, ObamaCare’s subsidy scheme is simply too important to be governed by normal legal rules. If that’s true, then why not make things easier and introduce a bill that just amends the disputed section and grant subsidies to everyone?
If Senator Johnson and other Republicans are fearful of voter backlash, then he and others should propose specific policy alternatives. Overruling the Supreme Court for making the correct legal decision is not justified by political calculations of what might happen at the ballot box.
Voters deserve statesmen, not politicians that hedge their bets. If Senator Johnson wants to be reelected next year, he needs to earn the privilege by either embracing ObamaCare for the long-term or putting forward a specific alternative.