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Jonathan Bernstein

The Next Step If Obamacare Loses in Court

If sufficient pressure is applied, the likely outcome is that subsidies are restored.
A busy week.

A busy week.

Photographer: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

What if the Supreme Court rules against the government in King v. Burwell, and the Obamacare subsidies end in states that have chosen not to set up health-care exchanges? Opinion is split on what comes next -- both on what happens to people who have federal subsidies in those places and on what the political fallout will be.

Even political scientists strongly disagree. Patrick Egan at the Monkey Cage believes the political part would mainly be a problem for Republicans. Scott Lemieux, writing at The Week, disagrees, noting that “presidents generally get both more credit and more blame for what happens under their watch than is justified by their power.” This is particularly true of the Affordable Care Act, which is known as Obamacare even though, as Lemieux notes, it was “a statute that required immense congressional skill on the part of Democrats to pass.”