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How the King v. Burwell Supreme Court Case Could Affect Oregonians:



March 3, 2015


Media Contacts:

Steve Buckstein
Senior Policy Analyst and Founder
Cascade Policy Institute
Michael Cannon
Director of Health Policy Studies
Cato Institute
PORTLAND, Ore. – Cascade Policy Institute and the Cato Institute will make experts available to comment on the Wednesday, March 4, oral arguments of a major court case that could be the start of ObamaCare’s undoing.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case challenging implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Plaintiffs claim the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not have the ability to circumvent the original intent of the Affordable Care Act and provide insurance subsidies in all states, including states which did not create their own health insurance exchanges.

The case, King v. Burwell, challenges the IRS’s rule that made insurance subsidies available in all states―contrary to what the ObamaCare law actually specifies. In the original text of the health care legislation, subsidies could be allotted only if plans were purchased “through an Exchange established by the State under Section 1311.” When many states refrained from creating their own exchanges, the IRS took it upon itself to essentially rewrite this portion of the law.
Oregon originally set up an “Exchange established by the State,” called Cover Oregon. However, Cover Oregon never worked as planned; and now Oregon is contracting with the federal exchange, The federal government and Oregon state officials claim this arrangement will guarantee Oregonians continued access to federal insurance premium subsidies, but the King decision may not allow such subsidies. If subsidies are denied under a King ruling, Oregon will join the majority of states in reaping benefits of which most Oregonians are not aware: Approximately 157,000 individuals likely will be freed from the law’s individual mandate requirement; and around 5,500 Oregon firms with over 50 employees (representing more than 890,000 workers) also would be freed from the employer mandates that are putting downward pressure on our economy.
Two experts are available for interview on the subject of the King v. Burwell Supreme Court case: Steve Buckstein, Senior Policy Analyst and Founder of Cascade Policy Institute; and Michael Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute and an architect of the legal strategy that led to the King case being heard by the Supreme Court.

Buckstein and Cannon point out that:

  • By striking down this IRS rule, the Court would take a large step in unraveling ObamaCare, as the government would withhold subsidies for those living in the 36 states that chose to protect their citizens from the government’s employer mandate, the individual mandate, and the high costs of operating their own state-based exchanges. It might also free Oregonians from these burdens now that Oregon is relying on the federal exchange as well.
  • By working with the president and Congress, the decision could provide an important opportunity for states to reform health care in a meaningful way that respects taxpayers, provides for the truly needy, and addresses health care costs.
  • The decision could be a serious rebuke to the Obama Administration’s overreach in unilaterally implementing ObamaCare.

For interviews: Please call or email the Media Contacts listed above.
Last Thursday, Michael Cannon spoke before a packed house at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland. The event was co-sponsored by Cascade Policy Institute and Washington Policy Center. His remarks on King v. Burwell can be viewed here.
Cascade Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research and educational organization that focuses on state and local issues in Oregon. Cascade’s mission is to develop and promote public policy alternatives that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity. The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues.


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