It isn't every day over six million people get screwed in one fell swoop, but the Supreme Court of the United States might just do it very soon.
The court is nearing a decision in the King vs. Burwell case. If it rules for the plaintiff all the people enrolled in Obamacare who live in 34 states which refused to establish insurance exchanges will lose federal subsidies that make their health coverage affordable. If you are one of those unlucky 6.5 million and have significant health issues--then are forced to give up your insurance due to its suddenly prohibitive cost, you are--in a word--fucked.
This is all part of a continuing right wing attack on the Affordable Care Act which went into effect in October of 2013. The conservative outrage has been so unhinged members of the republican party in the house voted to repeal the ACA over 50 times when they knew each resolution was doomed to failure.
The debate has, at times, taken on all the trappings of some absurdist play. From day one tea party hacks and Fox News journalists were screaming that the ACA would allow the government to establish death panels in order to decide who would get critical care and who wouldn't. That's right, Grand Dad might be denied care because some government bureaucrat could deem him too old and useless to save. Their hysteria was so apocalyptic, at times it seemed they were on the verge of saying not only would he be doomed, but his body would be processed into Soylent Green chips and sold at a local 7-11, just like in the science fiction movie of the same name.
When it turned out there were no death panels,Ted Cruz and others began running around screeching the ACA was the biggest job killer in the history of the republic. Another GOP presidential candidate, Ben Carson went so far as to say Obamacare was the worst thing since slavery.
Actually here is what happened. Since its glitch filled opening in October 2013 over 16 million people have enrolled and now have health coverage. There is a higher percentage of Americans covered by health insurance now than at any time in the past 30 years. According to the administration, in the first quarter of 2015 the uninsured rate is 10.5%. The Gallup people estimate the number is closer to 11.5%. Both figures beat the first quarter of 2013 when it was 17.1%.
Then there is that whole job killing deal Cruz kept babbling about. The unemployment rate in May, 2013 was 7.5%. Last month it was 5.5%.
In addition the administration is happy to tell you 137 million people now get coverage for preventative care, up to 30 million can qualify for insurance despite pre existing conditions, and 105 million Americans no longer have a life time dollar cap on health care.
In the words of Barack Obama, "This thing works." He added, "There hasn't been a lot of conversation about the horrors of Obamacare, because none of them came to pass."
The latest challenge is over the wording of a single sentence in the act--you know--sort of a grammatical thing. As the president pointed out the issue should have never been taken up by the court in the first place, however congress could cure the current nonsense with a one sentence provision.
Yeah, well, he probably shouldn't count on that happening. According to republican Senator, John Barrasso of Wyoming, "Republicans aren't interested in a one sentence fix--unless that sentence is, Obamacare is repealed."
If the court does gut the ACA, savage yokels like Barrasso will be dancing in the streets. Of course royally pissing off upwards to 16 million voters seems awfully extravagant for a party which has lost the last two presidential elections. Let's face it, if the Affordable Care Act takes a hit and millions of people lose their health insurance, next fall the GOP can count on Hillary Rodham Clinton telling everyone in America that it's the republicans who are creating death panels.
And she'll be right.