‘Cynical’ Obamacare Challenge Exposes Persistent Flaw of For-Profit System

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on Wednesday in King v. Burwell, the case that could decide the future of the Affordable Care Act and the healthcare status of an estimated 9.6 million people who have purchased insurance through HealthCare.gov.

“The King v. Burwell case is yet another reason to swiftly move beyond the failing ACA to a simpler, publicly financed, improved-Medicare-for-All system.” —Dr. Robert Zarr, PNHP

In King, the court has to decide if the Affordable Care Act provides subsidies to everyone in the country who qualifies for them on the basis of income level, regardless of whether they get their insurance through a state-run exchange or an exchange run by the federal government. Thirty-four states opted for federally-run exchanges, instead of setting up their own.

The case hinges on just a handful of words in the massive bill—”through an exchange established by the state”—a phrase the plaintiffs claim is evidence that Congress intended to permit subsidies only for people who buy insurance through state-run exchanges.

But that argument is “fiction,” charged author and journalist Steven Brill at Reuters this week. “Provable fiction.”

Brill, who “interviewed pretty much everyone involved in the conception and writing of the law” while working on his book America’s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System, asserts:

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