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King vs. everybody

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This King v. Burwell case sure has everyone worked up. So much so that the math doesn’t even add up – but, hey, what are millions among taxpayers?

On the same day this week, two separate think tanks dropped studies on what a subsidy smack down would mean for consumers.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — working with The Urban Institute — found that a ruling for King could toss 8.2 million out of the exchanges. In turn, that would jack up average premiums 35 percent, according to the Urban researchers.

Bet you didn’t hear anything about that, did you? That’s because the artisans over at the Rand Corp. painted an even darker picture. If you thought RWJ went all Bacon, then the cats at Rand went straight Bosch.

Their research suggests as many as 9.6 million PPACA enrollees could find themselves on their collective asses if the subsidy rug gets pulled out from under them. In short, about 70 percent of enrollees would be uninsured all over again.

If the justices — in their infinite, impartial wisdom — invalidate the subsidies in the federal exchange, two things will happen.

One, the economy, which is actually picking up some steam, will no doubt stall out. And, two, Republicans will take the blame for it – even though they had nothing to do with PPACA’s poorly drafted prose. The media will bash them (like they ever need much of an excuse) for crashing the economy while the millions of freshly uninsured will remain bitter until the next time they step into a voting booth.

Republicans need to worry less about Keystone (have you seen gas prices lately?) or immigration (alienating the nation’s fastest growing voting bloc) and quickly fix this part of the law. It will avert a crisis, catch the president off guard and Congress can chalk up an early win going into start of the next election cycle. More importantly, though, it will allow the GOP to finally dictate some common sense funding mechanism for a law that’s otherwise been supported by so many tooth fairies.

Not convinced? Then consider this: For the sake of argument, let’s split the difference between the think tank numbers and say 8.9 million will suddenly find themselves without health insurance. Mitt Romney lost the last election by 3.2 million votes.

In other news, over at the 16 state-run exchanges, it’s worth noting that all but five of the original directors are history, as reported by The Hill.

“Only the leaders of the California, Kentucky, New York, Washington state and District of Columbia marketplaces are left standing,” according to the website.

Most left during the first (disastrous) enrollment window, making the role of NFL head coach look pretty secure by comparison.


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