I'm not gonna recap the whole thing yet again today (click the first link above for that), but I concluded the most recent chapter by noting:
Simply appropriating CSR payments and killing off Silver Loading would pay for more than 40% of the cost of massively upgrading the ACA (perhaps $250 billion of the $600 billion or so total 10-yr cost).
U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Latest Challenge to the Affordable Care Act and Preserves the Landmark Health Care Law for a Third Time
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee applauded today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to dismiss challenges to the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act leaving the law intact to the benefit of millions of Americans.
“The Supreme Court – in rejecting claims challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act – has once again upheld the law that is helping millions of Americans benefit every day from health care coverage and broad consumer protections. It is time to move on, focus on improving the law and reach true universal coverage.
Since this insanity has been grinding away for nearly seven years now, I'm pretty much just reposting my entire August entry, with an important update tacked on at the end.
Here's a quick recap:
The ACA includes two types of financial subsidies for individual market enrollees through the ACA exchanges (HealthCare.Gov, CoveredCA.com, etc). One program is called Advance Premium Tax Credits (APTC), which reduces monthly premiums for low- and moderate-income. APTCs are the subsidies which have been substantially beefed up by the American Rescue Plan (the additional subsidies will be available starting in April in most states, soon thereafter in most other states).
The other type of subsidies are called Cost Sharing Reductions (CSR), which reduce deductibles, co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses for low-income enrollees.
In 2014, then-Speaker of the House John Boehner filed a lawsuit on behalf of Congressional Republicans against the Obama Administration. They had several beefs with the ACA (shocker!), including a claim that the CSR payments were unconstitutional because they weren't explicitly appropriated by Congress in the text of the Affordable Care Act (even though the program itself was described in detail, including the payment mechanism/etc.)
UPDATE 4/03/21: I've confirmed with a highly-trusted source that this isn't happening...at least not before the Supreme Court issues their ruling, anyway.
As noted below (scroll all the way down), it appears that a $1.00 penalty would be too small to make the reconciliation cut, which means the only way to #MootTheSuit via reconciliation would be to change the mandate back to an amount large enough to have a significant impact on the budget...which presumably means several hundred dollars.
I mean, if they're gonna do that, they might as well just restore it to the original $695/2.5% of income while they're at it.
So, the idiotic, asinine and otherwise absurd GOP-brought, Trump-supported lawsuit to strike down the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act finally had its (presumably final) day in court today...the United States Supreme Court, that is.
Defending the ACA were California Solicitor General Michael Mongan and Donald Verrilli, who is the former U.S. Solicitor General, and who was working on behalf of the House Democrats, I believe. For the plaintiffs, you had the Texas Solicitor General, Kyle Hawkins and Acting U.S. Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall (note the "acting" descriptor...Trump has tons of unconfirmed appointees...)
Remember, there are three main questions for the SCOTUS to consider about the lawsuit:
Any music fan eager to bulk up their collection in the ’90s knew where to go to grab a ton of music on the cheap: Columbia House. Started in 1955 as a way for the record label Columbia to sell vinyl records via mail order, the club had continually adapted to and changed with the times, as new formats such as 8-tracks, cassettes, and CDs emerged and influenced how consumers listened to music. Through it all, the company’s hook remained enticing: Get a sizable stack of albums for just a penny, with no money owed up front, and then just buy a few more at regular price over time to fulfill the membership agreement. Special offers along the way, like snagging discounted bonus albums after buying one at full price, made the premise even sweeter.
Yesterday, the Trump Administration formally submitted their official brief with the Supreme Court of the United States asking SCOTUS to completely and fully strike down the entire Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act. This is the latest development in the utterly insane "California vs. Texas" lawsuit (formerly "Texas vs. U.S.", "Texas vs. Azar", or as I prefer to label it, "Texas Fold'em", a name originally coined by U of M law professor Nicholas Bagley but which doesn't seem to have caught on with anyone other than me so far.
I've written about this completely absurd lawsuit more times than I care to remember, but as a reminder, here's what it comes down to.
The image below is the "3-legged stool" of the Affordable Care Act.
The blue leg represents the various patient protections which the ACA requires health insurance carriers to provide--guaranteed issue, community rating, essential health benefits and so on.