Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court will issue its ruling in King v. Burwell. The case challenges the legality of providing federal subsidies to individuals who purchased health insurance coverage through federal (rather than state-run) exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”). Millions of Americans currently receive those federal exchange subsidies; relatively few states have set up exchanges of their own. Regardless of how the Court rules on Burwell, one of the two sides in the broader battle over the ACA will confront a major and difficult challenge.
If the Court strikes down the subsidies, the basic structure of the entire law may be undermined unless ACA proponents can somehow enact fresh legislation to repair the damage. If, on the other hand, the Court decides to uphold subsidies for insurance purchased through the federal exchanges, the ACA will gain precious time to grow deeper roots in the American health care system—and congressional opponents seeking the law’s repeal and replacement will have to adjust their strategy and tactics accordingly.
On May 21st at noon, Hudson Institute hosted a timely conversation about Burwell and its implications with Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA). Sen. Cassidy, a practicing physician with nearly three decades experience providing primary and specialist healthcare services to uninsured and underinsured patients in Baton Rouge, also discussed his plan, the Patient Freedom Act, a lower-cost, patient-friendly alternative to the ACA that would protect the 5-10 million Americans currently receiving federal insurance subsidies from losing their health coverage.