A federal district court judge will rule on this no later than February 15. He has the authority to declare that all subsidies on policies bought through the federal government’s exchanges are not legal, according to the actual language of the ObamaCare law.
This would throw a monkey wrench into the program. There are 34 states with no state-run exchanges. Those citizens living in these states who are counting on taxpayer-funded subsidies to buy the new policies, which are expensive, will now face a new reality: they cannot afford health care insurance.
What then? The government will appeal the case to the Supreme Court, and hope to get Chief Justice Roberts to vote with the 5 to 4 majority of last year’s decision. But maybe he will follow the law this time.
At that point, ObamaCare become the Democrats’ worst nightmare. The law will remain on the books: the ultimate political albatross. Those refusing to buy insurance will pay “taxes,” as Justice Roberts defined the fines. They will have no coverage.
There will be a move by Democrats to pass a law authorizing the subsidies. It will not get through the House.
There are always voters at the margin who serve as swing voters in elections. There is nothing like a “Dear John” letter from an insurance company — no policy — plus another one from the Federal government: no subsidies, either. These letters will persuade millions of voters to vote Republican, if the Republicans run on a platform of repealing ObamaCare, which they will.
The Republicans need not offer an alternative program. In this case, nothing is visibly better than something. They merely have to say: “Repeal ObamaCare. Vote Republican.” A 4-word slogan is powerful. It is suitable for a billboard.
Or maybe this:
If the judge says the subsidies are legal, that will apply only to his district. There can be other similar cases in other districts. The uncertainty can continue until the Supreme Court decides.
This law is going to divide the electorate from now on. The victims will become a pool of voters for the Republican Party. The only question now is this: How many victims will there be?