The White House was careful not criticize the Supreme Court for deciding to hear the case which could determine the legality of ACA subsidies in 34 states, but it called the lawsuit itself another partisan attempt to undermine the healthcare law.
SCOTUS blog was the first to break the news that the Supreme Court has decided to hear the case that centers on the legality of ACA subsidies,
The Supreme Court, moving back into the abiding controversy over the Affordable Care Act, agreed early Friday afternoon to decide how far the federal government can extend its program of subsidies to buyers of health insurance. At issue is whether the program of tax credits applies only in the consumer marketplaces set up by sixteen states, and not at federally operated sites in thirty-four states.
Rather than waiting until Monday to announce its action, which would be the usual mode at this time in the Court year, the Justices released the order granting review of King v. Burwell not long after finishing their closed-door private Conference.
It only takes four justices to decide that the court will hear a case, which is bad news for the Obama administration, because it means that there are likely already four votes against the subsidies on the court.
The White House reacted to the news that the Supreme Court will be hearing the case by calling out the lawsuit as another partisan attempt to destroy the ACA.
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said,
The ACA is working. These lawsuits won’t stand in the way of the Affordable Care Act and the millions of Americans who can now afford health insurance because of it. We are confident that the financial help afforded millions of Americans was the intent of the law and it is working as Congress designed.
This lawsuit reflects just another partisan attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act and to strip millions of American families of tax credits that Congress intended for them to have. We will continue to ensure that every American has the peace of mind of having access to affordable insurance. We are confident that the Supreme Court will recognize both the clear reading of the entire law, and the certain intent of Congress in crafting it. Indeed, with uninsured rates plummeting across the country, it’s clear that the Affordable Care Act is already working. American families who have already enrolled, or are planning to sign up during the open enrollment period beginning on November 15th should know that nothing has changed: tax credits and affordable coverage remain available.
Even though the White House has the statutory argument on their side, there is a great deal for the administration to be nervous about. It was odd for the Supreme Court to hear the case because the lower court have not disagreed in their rulings. If the White House loses, 4-5 million people will see their ACA subsidies taken away, and the structure of the healthcare law will be thrown out of balance. However, a victory by the White House would put an end to the attempts to destroy the law through the court system.
The stakes are huge, and by the end of June or early July 2015, the nation will find out the future of the Affordable Care Act.