King v. Burwell: SCOTUS decision could change everything--or nothing

Across the web, experts and pundits debate meaning of the case, possible outcomes of ruling

Among them: The legal case is "extremely weak;" the Roberts court is "business friendly;" and the ruling would be "embarrassingly hypocritical."

"The four other conservatives on the Court have already acknowledged that the ACA scheme requires subsidies to flow everywhere," the article notes. "If justices Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy want to nix the subsidies, they'll be tacitly admitting that they read the statute incorrectly. But if the statute is so easy to misconstrue, then it's probably ambiguous. And if that's the case, the federal government should win."

Meanwhile, there's a healthy--and lengthening--debate underway at the Supreme Court-focused SCOTUS blog, which has a "symposium" section devoted to multiple points of view on and analysis of the case, including an article that lists 7 myths about King v. Burwell. Among them, the author argues, is the idea that King would cause massive disruption.

These cases "seek to end the political and economic disruption caused by the Internal Revnue Service's decision to expand the ACA's major taxing and spending provisions outside the legislative process, writes Michael F. Cannon, director of health policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute.

"How much disruption the IRS rule ultimately causes depends on how Congress responds to its being struck down. Congress could simply ratify the IRS's revision of the statute by authorizing subsidies in federal exchanges. Or it could move in the opposite direction, and make private insurance more affordable for millions, particularly low-income Americans, by actually reducing its cost."

But Nicholas Bagley, an Assistant Professor at Michigan Law, argues that the fact the Supreme Court agreed to hear King is bad news for the ACA.

"The government had asked the Court to take a pass [on King] because there's no split in the circuit courts over whether the IRS rule is valid," he writes.

"What's troubling is that four justices apparently think--or at least are inclined to think--that King was wrongly decided. As I've said before, there's no other reason to take King. The challengers urged the Court to intervene now in order to resolve 'uncertainty' aboutt the availability of federal tax credits."

To learn more:
- here's the New Republic "death panel" article
- read the LA Times piece
- check out Slate's take
- here's the second New Republic article
- view all of the SCOTUS blog symposium articles

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