Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hospital Corporation of America brief eviscerates King v. Burwell plaintiffs

The Hospital Corporation of America is the country's largest private medical care provider. As such, their main objective is to have a health care system with a competent, consistent regulatory structure with as many people insured as possible so that they access care in the most cost-efficient and least burdensome manner possible. This stands in stark contrast to the plaintiffs in the King v. Burwell case, who are trying to outlaw subsidies for the 6.5 million people (just so far) on the federal exchange. HCA submitted a marvelous Amicus Curiae brief on behalf of the government documenting the positive effects of the Affordable Care Act in terms of policy. And as far as the plaintiffs' legal argument? The basic message is, "you guys can't really be serious":
Without subsidies, the goal of near-universal coverage would be impossible. Not only would many newly uninsured Americans be stripped of coverage, but the likely effect of the ACA as interpreted by Petitioners would be an overall increase in the uninsured in federally-facilitated Exchange states relative to a pre-ACA baseline. Supra pp. 18–23. It cannot be that Congress’s “comprehensive national plan to provide universal health insurance coverage,” NFIB, 132 S. Ct. at 2606 (op. of Roberts, C.J., joined by Breyer & Kagan, JJ.), was actually a plan to take coverage away and destabilize insurance markets. Indeed, “[i]t defies logic to think that Congress would disregard [these] real-world consequences.” Northwest, Inc. v. Ginsberg, 134 S. Ct. 1422, 1430 (2014).
For the plaintiffs, though, it's kind of like a Cards Against Humanity draw: "In the CATO institute's new court case, it turns out that 'Congress's comprehensive national plan to provide universal health insurance coverage was really just 'a plan to take coverage away and destabilize insurance markets' all along." On a side note, it's especially delicious to see a major corporation telling a bunch of right-wing ideologues to shove off because the Affordable Care Act has been so good for business.

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