One of Obamacare’s top Democratic champions said Thursday there is no reason to make contingency plans for a Supreme Court ruling that could blow a hole through the law by striking down subsidies on the federal exchange.
Sen. Chris Murphy, Connecticut Democrat, said there is “no question” in his mind that Congress intended to provide premium tax credits to all eligible Americans, no matter where they live.
“I think it would be a stunning act of judicial overreach, should the Supreme Court decide against the government in King v. Burwell,” said Mr. Murphy, using the title of the case before the justices.
Challengers who brought the lawsuit say the Affordable Care Act of 2010 restricted the subsidies to exchanges “established by the state,” which they interpret as the exchanges run by 16 states and the District of Columbia.
Without the subsidies, many customers in 34 states that rely on HealthCare.gov would no longer be able to afford their coverage, throwing the law’s economics into disarray.
Mr. Murphy’s position jibes with that of top administration officials.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew refused to tell congressional Republicans this week whether they’re preparing for the ruling due by June, or if they will seek a legislative fix if they lose in court.
Mrs. Burwell told the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday that the administration should prevail in court, so she is focused on enrolling uninsured Americans in the exchanges before the Feb. 15 deadline.