White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday there is still no plan B if the Obama administration loses the forthcoming Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare.
“We continue to be very confident in the legal case we have to make,” Earnest told reporters. “What’s also true is that if the Supreme Court were to throw the health care system in this country into utter chaos, there would be no easy solution for solving that problem because it would likely require an act of Congress in order to address that situation.”
The high court will decide in King v. Burwell the definition of the words “established by the state,” written into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, which became law in 2010.
The plaintiffs contend the legislative language clearly means that tax subsidies to buy health insurance can only be available to states that established their own health exchanges. That leaves out 37 states that didn’t set up an Obamcare marketplace, and millions who would no longer qualify for subsidies. The Obama administration argues the language broadly meant all exchanges were eligible for federal tax subsidies.
Earnest is not optimistic about congressional action.
“We’ve not seen much of an appetite from Republicans in Congress to work constructively to address this,” Earnest said. “The fact is we’ve seen many Republicans willing to play politics in a cynical way on this issue, but not a lot of constructive engagement on these issues.”
Earnest argued again about the intent of the law.
“The goal of the legislation, regardless of what state they lived in, eligible for subsidies based on income not what state they live in,” he said. “This policy, as it has been implemented over the last several years, has lowered health care costs for people across the country and in some cases, many cases, has allowed people that previously could not afford health insurance to be able to purchase it. That has provided significant economic benefit for the country.”