(Bloomberg View) — It’s possible that the congressional Democrats who drafted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) — aka Obamacare — five years ago purposely sabotaged their signature accomplishment, failed to tell anyone and are now lying about it. More likely, they just made a mistake — and the states can easily address it.
Some background: PPACA provides federal subsidies for eligible people who buy insurance on a government-run insurance exchange. Opponents of the law say those subsidies are only available to those who buy insurance from an exchange run by a state, and have filed suit to block people in the 36 states where exchanges are run by the federal government from receiving any subsidy.
The case is both tendentious and frivolous, based on a single reference to subsidies for those enrolled in an “exchange established by the state.” It is also headed to the Supreme Court, which means that governments and businesses need to take it seriously.
This is especially true for states that decided to let the federal government run their exchanges. If they instead build their own exchanges, the case will be made moot. Any state that wants to set up its own exchange for the 2016 plan year only needs to submit an application to the federal government by June of next year.
So what is stopping them from doing so? Part of the answer is political, part is practical.