After nearly five years of “repeal and replace” talk, we now have a glimpse at the Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act if the Supreme Court tosses out the premium tax credits in the 37 states that failed to create their own exchange. Drafted by Senator Orrin Hatch, Representative Fred Upton, and Senator Richard Burr, the proposal would, among other things, eliminate the individual and employer mandates and offer subsidies to families earning up to 300% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Ok, so let’s get this straight. Congressional Republicans really, really don’t like the ACA, saying that it can’t be fixed and that we need to start over from scratch. They feel so strongly about this that they sued over the legality of the government subsidies and are on record saying that, if the Supreme Court sides with them, they would not seek a Congressional fix to restore the financial assistance to the millions of Americans who would be in danger of losing coverage. Instead, they would replace the existing law with a new law that would provide financial assistance to millions of Americans to help them buy health insurance.
No, it doesn’t make much sense, but this is politics, so it’s not supposed to. The important point is this: the Supreme Court, in just under a month, will hear the King v. Burwell case and, a couple months later, will decide whether the subsidies can continue in their current form. The Court may decide that they can, but even if it doesn’t, any sort of Congressional action is likely to include tax credits for people who can’t afford health insurance. And for brokers with an individual private exchange solution, that’s good news – no matter what happens, there will be plenty of people to help.