The original Obamacare legislation created something called “risk corridors,” which guaranteed insurers certain payments if they lost money on the exchanges. Republicans have been trying ever since to cut off the payments, arguing that they were never appropriated. The insurers, conversely, argue that they joined the exchanges in good faith, assuming that the word of the federal government was sufficient to guarantee them payment if they suffered unexpected losses.
Today the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare should be allowed to work as intended. That’s good news. The better news is that the ruling was 8-1, with only Samuel Alito dissenting. Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic here, but this might signal that the Court is getting tired of endless challenges to Obamacare. If that’s the case, it means they’re likely to toss out the ridiculous challenge being brought by Republican governors later this year. They claim that the individual mandate penalty can no longer be considered a tax because Congress zeroed it out in 2017 and you can’t have a zero tax. The governors go on to argue that if it’s not a tax, then the mandate is unconstitutional; and if the mandate is unconstitutional then the entire act is unconstitutional.
Aside from everything else, the patent absurdity of Congress being able to yo-yo between constitutional and unconstitutional simply by passing changes to a tax rate should give everyone pause. And perhaps it will.