The fallout of the latest Obamacare case on the states
By Gov. Mary Fallin
The King v. Burwell case before the U.S. Supreme Court could present both challenges and opportunities for our states. The Court will decide later this year whether the Internal Revenue Service had the statutory authority to write a rule allowing health insurance subsidies to flow through federally-facilitated exchanges.
Petitioners argue that the law clearly restricts the subsidies to “an Exchange established by the State” under section 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and that administrative agencies like the IRS cannot alter legislation or spend taxpayer dollars without authorization by Congress.
Government attorneys argue that “established by the State” is at worst a drafting error and that Congress clearly wanted subsidies to be available in all of the states.
Most of our states did not create a state exchange, but there still has been significant disruption to our health insurance markets. Many of our citizens have had no other option but to purchase the expensive, mandate-heavy, federally-regulated insurance required by the ACA.
As we wrote in our January 29, 2015, letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, we are convinced that states could do a much better job of managing programs if we had greater flexibility and control of funds and regulatory authority. Putting states in the driver’s seat would allow us to provide better services at lower costs to our citizens.