Over at The Huffington Post, Jonathan Cohn lays out the potential carnage if the King v. Burwell plaintiffs receive a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court...and why it would be far, far worse than the 2 million or so people whose noncompliant policies were cancelled at the end of 2013 & 2014.
The Freakout From An Obamacare Ruling Could Be Unlike Anything We've Seen
And that, ultimately, is the biggest difference between the 2013 cancellations and what would happen, this summer, if the court strikes down subsidies in the healthcare.gov states. Two years ago, if you were one of those people who lost your coverage, you were still able to find an alternative. And thanks to the law’s regulations -- yes, the same ones that sometimes made coverage more expensive -- you at least knew that your new policy was comprehensive. It had to include all essential benefits, including mental health and prescription coverage. And it had to limit your out-of-pocket expenses. This summer, if the Supreme Court takes away your coverage, you'll end up with ... nothing. Just like that, you’ll go from the ranks of the safely insured to the ranks of the uninsured -- a far more drastic, and hazardous, transition than people experienced because of plan cancellations in 2013.
I also appreciate Cohn's nod to me (whether he intended it or not) in his headline, as noted by L.A. Times reporter Michael Hiltzik last spring:
A hardy perennial now enjoying a revival is the "How many have PAID???" freakout. Independent ACA statistics tracker Charles Gaba has put this one under his microscope. His conclusions are that, first of all, the issue is probably exaggerated and, second, it's way premature even to count nonpaying enrollees, because many of them won't even receive bills for weeks yet. (We're indebted to Gaba for the triple-question marks in our headline, as well as for resurrecting the useful term "freakout.")