King v. Burwell: Two Justices May Decide the Affordable Care Act’s Fate

By Jill Zorn 

8213432552_fd1a8cc461_zThe  King v. Burwell case was argued before the Supreme Court on March 4, and it looks like the final decision, due in late June, will come down to the opinions of Justice Anthony “Weathervane” Kennedy and a largely silent Chief Justice John “Sphinx” Roberts.

Meanwhile, the fate of the Affordable Care Act itself and the over 9 million people who receive subsidies through the federal exchange hangs in the balance.

Analyses of what happened on Wednesday generally fall into two camps:

  • The Affordable Care Act may just (barely) survive after all
  • It’s too close to call

Here are examples from those feeling somewhat more hopeful after Wednesday’s oral arguments:

And here are a few opinions from those feeling it is way too early to read the tea leaves:

On Friday, the justices begin their private deliberations on this case, with full knowledge of the potentially disastrous consequences that could result if they rule against the government and for the plaintiffs.

While their decision won’t be released until the end of June, you can count on former insurance executive, Wendell Potter, to make a prediction that is likely to be true — no matter what the Supreme Court decides.  As he explains in his latest Huffington Post blog, “…regardless of how the court eventually rules in King v. Burwell, your premiums will likely go up next year simply because the justices agreed to take the case in the first place.

Some things are more predictable than others.

Here are some other interesting pieces to check out: 

Dahlia Lithwick, SlateHigh Drama for Obamacare at the High Court

Washington Post, Jason Millman’s Wonkblog post:  Five Key Takeaways from the Supreme Court’s Obamacare Hearing Today

Jeffrey Tubin, The New YorkerDid John Roberts Tip his Hand?

Richard Kirsch, Huffington PostObamacare’s Nine Lives

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