Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on King v. Burwell, a case that contests the subsidies available in the 36 states that have federally facilitated marketplaces or FFMs. The case is based on a hyper-literal, politically motivated mis-reading of Section 1311 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which says that subsidies are available to people “enrolled through an Exchange established by the State under 1311." At stake is nothing less than affordable coverage for 8 million Americans (See Kaiser Family Foundation’s helpful overview of King v. Burwell here).
No matter how it gets decided in June, King v. Burwell will have no impact in California – end of story. But it is fair to say that an adverse decision will create two health care Americas – one that provides peace of mind for its residents (California) and another that will put families right back where they started: at risk of not receiving the health care they need.
States like California that are implementing the ACA in good faith are already demonstrating that the law effectively increases health coverage, aids the long-term effort to lower costs, and creates helpful competition – something that could be achieved elsewhere if only a state had the will to implement the statute effectively.