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President Obama: No Reason for Supreme Court to Overturn Affordable Care Act

White House doesn’t have contingency plan

President Barack Obama said on June 8 that he was confident the Supreme Court would not rule against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), describing it as an “easy case” that should never have been taken up by the court, according to a report from Reuters.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule this month on King v. Burwell, a challenge aimed at subsidies for premiums for 6.4 million low- and middle-income Americans in 34 states under the PPACA.

“Under well-established precedent, there is no reason why the existing [health care] exchanges should be overturned through a court case,” Obama said. “This should be an easy case. Frankly, it probably shouldn’t even have been taken up.”

A ruling against the PPACA would mean that millions of Americans would no longer be able to afford health insurance, and it would broadly disrupt insurance markets, Obama said at a press conference during a Group of Seven (G7) meeting in Germany. The PPACA, aimed at reducing the number of Americans without health insurance (currently in the millions), is considered a signature domestic policy achievement for Obama and his fellow Democrats, Reuters noted.

Even Republicans who worked on the legislation have agreed that they intended for people buying insurance on the federally run exchange to be eligible for subsidies, Obama said.

“I'm optimistic that the Supreme Court will play it straight when it comes to the interpretation,” he remarked. “If it didn’t, Congress could fix this whole thing with a one-sentence provision.”

The White House has made it clear that it does not have a contingency plan for losing the case, noting that any “fix” to the Act would likely require legislation, which would be difficult to pass in a Republican-controlled Congress, Reuters said.

Source: Reuters; June 8, 2015.

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