King v. Burwell plaintiffs' argument called into question
David King, the lead plaintiff in the upcoming Supreme Court case of King v. Burwell, apparently qualifies for veteran's medical coverage, reported the Wall Street Journal. This is significant for a number of reasons.
The plaintiffs argue that federal subsidies are harmful in part because they force Americans to have health insurance or otherwise pay a penalty. But because King served in the Army in Vietnam--which qualifies him for medical coverage, with no premiums, through the Department of Veterans Affairs--he could get out of paying that penalty, or any insurance premiums.
Legal experts wonder about King's legitimacy to challenge the provision. Additionally, should he enroll in VA coverage, he is unable to bring the case, the article noted.
Another plaintiff, Douglas Hurst, stands with King on the issue. The two stated that they were not eligible for coverage through the government or an employer as of when the lawsuit was filed in 2013.
However, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is funding the lawsuit, mentioned that the veteran's status is a "non-issue," according to Politico.
"Since neither Mr. King nor Mr. Hurst had even enrolled, neither was 'eligible' for veterans health care," CEI general counsel San Kazman said in a statement Saturday, noted Politico. "Further, there are also non-veteran plaintiffs in this case whose standing is uncontested by the Department of Justice, and so the veteran status of two plaintiffs is of no legal consequence in any event."
A third plaintiff's standing, Rose Luck, has been questioned as well--because of her low income, she would be exempt from the penalty for not buying coverage, noted the WSJ.
Yet these recent findings most likely will not deter the Supreme Court for making a sound decision, David Levine, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, told the WSJ. Just one of the four plaintiffs must have a valid legal claim for the case to proceed.