Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R) is no fan of the Affordable Care Act. He supported the first Supreme Court case seeking to repeal the law, and he claimed that the law is “unconstitutional.” And yet, at a news conference last week, Mead echoed many of the Justice Department’s warnings regarding what will happen if the justices side with a new case seeking to gut the law. Indeed, according to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Mead “hopes the court will reject the case and uphold the law.”
The attorneys behind King v. Burwell asked the Supreme Court to cut off tax credits, which allow millions of Americans to afford their health insurance, in close to three dozen states. If the justices agree to do so, millions of people’s premiums will triple or worse, and an estimated 8 million people insured through the law’s exchanges will lose their coverage. Nearly 10,000 people will die every year who otherwise would have lived, according to one estimate. Meanwhile, the sudden, enormous spikes in the cost of insurance will destabilize many states’ individual insurance markets, potentially triggering a “death spiral” that will cause those markets to collapse.
In his press conference, Mead worried about the chaos that would result from a decision that allowed all of this to happen. “If on June 30, if that’s when the case comes down, and they say no more subsidies for federal exchanges … it is going to cause a lot of turmoil,” he warned, adding that his home state of Wyoming “will be scrambling” if the King plaintiffs win their case.
During oral arguments on King, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli expressed similar concerns that the states will not be able to adapt to a decision cutting off tax credits.
The reason is simple math. You can't argue that Obamacare is a giveaway to urban minority voters in states like Wyoming, and the state is the least populous in the nation. Gov. Mead is just running the numbers and he knows that his constituents are in trouble if federal subsidies go away.
Five years later Obamacare is a reality, and dealing with is the only solution. You'll see more and more GOP governors throw in the towel and take the money.