Last week, I discussed how things could get bad for Indiana residents should the Supreme Court rule against federal subsidies in the Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”). Well, scratch that.
I had planned to talk about what state residents could do next in such a scenario. But since that didn’t come to pass, let’s instead just have some fun at our Governor’s expense, shall we?
Here is Governor Mike Pence’s statement reacting to the Court’s decision, along with a few paragraph-by-paragraph thoughts:
Governor Pence: “The Supreme Court's ruling in King v. Burwell is profoundly disappointing to me and every Hoosier who had hoped this ruling would give our nation the opportunity to start over on health care reform.”
The ACA’s exchanges have been up and running for less than two years, and the law isn’t fully implemented. But the parts that have taken effect have reduced the uninsured rate, and are only gaining in popularity. It’d be one thing to scrap the whole thing if it were an utter failure, but only someone who wants the ACA to fail would call this a disappointment.
GP: “Today's display of judicial activism by the Supreme Court upholds this deeply flawed law to the detriment of millions of Hoosiers who will continue to be subject to the mandates and taxes in Obamacare.”
What the Governor does not state is, had the Supreme Court ruled against the subsidies, Hoosiers still would be subject to those same mandates and taxes. What would have changed is that they would get no federal aid and have to pay even more. And if he’s against the average citizen having to pay into an insurance program, why did he create the state’s Healthy Indiana plan that requires users to pay into it instead of simply taking the ACA’s no-strings-attached Medicaid expansion to which every state is entitled?
As for the claims of judicial activism, the Court’s ruling reflected those of most of the lower courts who heard the same case. Also, Justices John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy have ruled on the side of conservatism on many other cases (despite being branded a traitor by conservatives in this case, Roberts dissented in the Court’s decision on same-sex marriage the very next day).
GP: “ObamaCare must be repealed and states must be given the flexibility to craft market-based solutions focused on lowering the cost of health care rather than growing the size of government.”
“Repeal and replace” has been the Republican soundbite for a while, but they never offer any solid info on a replacement, just conservative platitudes and buzzwords. Something tells me that if they really repealed it, they wouldn’t replace it and just wait and hope the public forgets about it in the news cycle. That might have worked a few years ago before the law started to take effect, but since people are now using it and would notice if it’s gone, that window’s probably closed.
GP: “It now falls to the American people to elect new leadership in Washington, D.C. so we can repeal ObamaCare and start over with health care reform based on personal responsibility and consumer choice rather than government mandates and taxes. Indiana will continue to be a leading voice in advancing those principles in the national debate.”
Considering Indiana’s last moment on the national stage under Pence was the RFRA, I very much doubt the country will be quick to look to our state for anything for a little while. But he is right that it’s up to the people to vote on new leadership. Unfortunately for him, it appears that Indiana’s desire for new leadership pertains specifically to his office.
His statement suggests that my speculation last week about the Governor's potential actions to fix things if the subsidies were eliminated was probably wrong. I figured as much, but fortunately for the state’s ACA enrollees, their health insurance isn’t in his hands.