Despite the protests of Republicans and red state conservatives, millions of people in Republican controlled states have enrolled in the federal health insurance exchange. The Republican efforts to stop Obamacare at the state level have been a failure.
But from Maine to Mississippi, Texas to Wisconsin, enrollment numbers keep rising, no matter how they are sliced — total number of people enrolled, percentage of eligible people getting covered, the overall drop in the uninsured rate.
Those gains pose a challenge in the coming months for Republicans, who face the prospect that millions of people in 37 states will lose insurance subsidies if the Supreme Court rules against the Obama administration in King v. Burwell this June.
A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study found that a ruling against the administration would disproportionately affect people who are white, Southern and employed — a demographic crucial to the Republican base. The foundation estimated that 6.3 million people could lose coverage if the subsidies end. Of those, 82 percent have modest incomes but are not poor, 62 percent live in the South and 61 percent are white.
Republicans who thought that they were stopping the law by refusing to set up their own state exchanges have created a trap for themselves. Florida, Maine, Georgia, Michigan and North Carolina have all covered at least 40% of their eligible residents under the federal exchange. Arkansas also depends on subsidies to fund their “private option” plan. All of these states will face an immediate backlash if the Supreme Court rules that only states that have set up exchanges are eligible for subsidies.
In spite of their efforts to deny their residents access to affordable health care, millions of conservatives are enrolling. Pressure will grow on Republicans if their residents lose their subsidies. The vast majority of those who lose their subsidies live in states that are controlled by Republicans. President Obama has won. The president was correct. All people want access to affordable health care. This isn’t a liberal or conservative issue. Republicans express a burning desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but they will be outraged if their subsidies are taken away.
The great irony is that by not setting up their own exchanges red state Republicans have dug their own graves. The American people have spoken. Republicans have lost the Obamacare war.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association