A commentary on Bloomberg.com this week points out that the U.S. may be headed towards significant economic challenges, as a Supreme Court case threatens to eliminate the subsidies that help millions of Americans afford health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (so-called “Obamacare”). As the Bloomberg piece’s author puts it: “The immediate effect of a ruling against the ACA would be to hurl the political system, and no small part of the economy, into chaos. Yet there’s little sign that Washington is preparing for that scenario.”
There are reasons various Washington factions may not want to talk about this topic. Democrats hope the ACA will survive intact, and don’t see an advantage in talking about backup plans. Republicans aren’t ready to say what will happen to the millions of people who stand to lose coverage they now count on.
A Washington Post blog quotes Republic Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, pointing out the frightening implications of vanishing subsidies: “Chemotherapy turned off for perhaps 12,000 people, dialysis going dark for 10,000. The horror stories will be real.” Beyond the effects on individuals and families, the stories make clear that the healthcare industry – a massive proportion of the economy – stands to be thrown into chaos because providers have spent billions of dollars over the last few years adapting to the ACA landscape, for instance by hiring doctors to treat patients who now have coverage and show up for care. If the healthcare economy is disrupted, the economy as a whole stands to be disrupted too.
Is Washington Ready for the Death of Obamacare? | Bloomberg
A Court decision gutting ACA could be a lot worse than you think | Washington Post