President Barack Obama says he has no alternate plan if the Supreme Court invalidates a key benefit of his health care law and he places the burden on the Republican-controlled Congress to fix the law if the high court wipes out insurance for millions of Americans.
Voicing confidence he will prevail before the court, Obama insisted Monday that the health care law is working and that the justices “will play it straight” and leave the law intact.
Should he lose, he added: “Congress could fix this whole thing with a one-sentence provision.”
Obama’s assessment of the case against the five-year-old Affordable Care Act came as the high court prepares to announce a decision sometime later this month that could wipe out health insurance for millions of people.
His remarks, made during a news conference at the end of a two-day international summit in Germany, also came ahead of his appearance Tuesday at the Catholic Hospital Association Conference in Washington where he was scheduled to discuss the consequences of the health care overhaul.
In declaring that Congress could address an adverse decision by the Supreme Court, Obama is betting that an angry public would demand a remedy.
At issue in the case is whether Congress authorized federal subsidy payments for health care coverage regardless of where people live, or only for residents of states that created their own insurance marketplaces. Nearly 6.4 million low- and moderate-income Americans could lose coverage if the court rules people who enrolled through the federal site weren’t eligible for the subsidies.
Twenty-six of the 34 states that would be most affected by the ruling have Republican governors, and 22 of the 24 GOP Senate seats up in 2016 are in those states.
Obama also took a jab at the Supreme Court for even considering the case, arguing that the intent of Congress was to provide subsidies under state or federal exchanges.
“Frankly, it probably shouldn’t even have been taken up,” he said.
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