Striking Down ObamaCare Subsidies in Some States Would End Individual, Employer Mandates
There are many ways to skin a cat, the saying goes, and there may be more than one way to frame the Supreme Court striking down the IRS’ lawless extension of ObamaCare subsidies to an estimated 5 to 6 million Americans.
If the Court invalidates the subsidies for people living in states without a state-run ObamaCare exchange – as a plain reading of the law requires – then the consequences will have a ripple effect.
“For instance,” columnist Philip Klein explains, “ObamaCare’s fines against employers that do not offer health insurance coverage are triggered when a worker claims government subsidies to purchase insurance on an exchange – but in states where workers can no longer legally receive those subsidies, then there are no fines. The employer mandate, thus, is effectively dead in those states.”
“Additionally,” says Klein, “the individual mandate exempts those who can’t find health insurance options for less than 8 percent of their income – thus, if the subsidies are eliminated, more people will be able to claim this exemption.”
In other words, if a lack of ObamaCare subsidies make individual health insurance unaffordable, then the individual and employer mandates are null and void.
An ObamaCare without mandates weakens the law substantially, and makes it far more likely for Republicans to change. If the Supreme Court delivers a decision that brings it about, the GOP should be in a good position to enact a more workable alternative.