2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

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BREAKING: Avik Roy uncovers MASSIVE CONSPIRACY by the HHS Dept!!

Kaiser Health News correspondent Phil Galewitz, February 25th:

Do I have this right?--The GOP is upset the Obama admin does NOT have a contingency plan for their efforts to kill the health law subsidies?

— Phil Galewitz (@philgalewitz) February 25, 2015

Me, February 26th:

@philgalewitz @aawayne HHS *does* have a plan: "Convince @GOP to stop being royal dicks & either add 4 words to the law *or* set up SBMs."

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) February 26, 2015

Avik Roy, today:

Something odd has been happening with the Supreme Court battle over the legality of subsidies for Obamacare’s federally-organized health insurance exchange. The Obama administration has been claiming—beyond credulity—that it has no “Plan B” should the Court side with the administration’s challengers. “We don’t have an administrative action that we believe can undo the damage,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell at a recent Congressional hearing. But contrary to those claims, sources familiar with HHS’ thinking say that the agency does, indeed, hope it has a way around the Court and the law.

...Two sources who have spoken to HHS about the matter have informed me that the agency does in fact have a “Plan B” to deal with an adverse ruling. It involves encouraging states to declare that they are subcontracting the management of an insurance exchange to HHS, thereby “establishing” an exchange as per the law.

Um, Mr. Roy? "Making it easier for the states to establish exchanges and attempting to convince them to do so" isn't exactly a Big Secret. Of course that's what the Obama administration would do in the event of such a ruling by the Supreme Court. The fact that Sec. Burwell didn't list this as a "contingency plan" doesn't mean she's trying to cover anything up. She didn't mention it because it's so blatantly obvious that it was barely worth mentioning at all--and if she had mentioned it during the Congressional hearings, she probably would have been chewed out by Rep. Pitts for "getting sassy" with him or something.

Heck, I've been posting the following "contingency plan" for weeks now; it amounts to the same "contingency plan" as "encouraging states to establish an exchange" would:

There. I hereby announce that Secretary Burwell and the HHS Dept. of the United States have my permission to use my "contingency plan" as their own. Here's the full language of said "contingency plan" for the HHS Dept:

"1. Convince Republicans in Congress to either edit the language of the sentence in question to clarify that federal tax subsidies are allowed for in states operating on the federal exchange, or 2. convince Republican Governors & Republican state legislators to agree to set up state-based exchanges with our assistance."

...none of which changes one whit the fact that the states in question would have to agree to establish an exchange, even if doing so really was as simple as registering a domain name and repointing it to HC.gov (which I also suggested last summer, and which apparently wouldn't be quite enough after all).

I mean, sure, Delaware shouldn't be an issue, and Illinois and New Jersey (Dem legislatures in both houses in both states) might find a way to shove it past their Republican Governors. On the flip side, Dem Govs Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and Terry McAuliffe of Virginia might be able to arrange for something via executive order or whatever in their states (I have no idea what the laws in PA or VA say about this). And so-called "moderate" (or at least "not completely insane") GOP governors like Rick Snyder of Michigan, John Kasich of Ohio and Matt Mead of Wyoming might try to knock some sense into their respective GOP-controlled state legislatures...

...but all of that would be on them. Any "red tape removing/fast-tracking" on the part of HHS would be entirely dependent on the GOP politicians in those states not being jerks.

Besides, as if the time, funding and political stubbornness of Republicans on this issue hasn't been made clear enough already, GOP legislators in states like Minnesota, Rhode Island and even Vermont have been pushing for bills to get rid of their existing state-run exchanges. Talk about an uphill battle.

Still, congratulations on blowing the lid off this "cover-up".