On March 4, the fate of ObamaCare will be argued before the Supreme Court again.
ObamaCare supporters are flooding the media with hardship stories of individuals they claim will lose their insurance and medical care if the court rules against the administration.
Don't' be bamboozled. A court defeat for Obama will force the president to finally negotiate with Congress and acquiesce to major changes in his expensive, unworkable health law. Suddenly the politically impossible - a compromise on ObamaCare - will become politically inevitable. In the meantime, Republican legislators are already drafting plans to prevent the hardships the administration is ghoulishly predicting.
At stake in King v. Burwell are subsidies that make their health plans look "affordable."
The letter of the law allows consumers to get subsidies only in the 14 states (including New York) that set up their own exchanges, not in all fifty states. But the Obama administration is ignoring that and doling them out everywhere.
If the Supreme Court forces the administration to stop the subsidies, here's how it shakes out:
Losers: People with ObamaCare subsidies
No matter how the Justices rule, it will have no impact on the poor. Nine out of every ten people who are newly insured because of ObamaCare are on Medicaid, which will be unaffected.
But roughly 6 million middle class Americans get the questionable subsidies, which allow them to pay a fraction of their plan's actual cost. Taxpayers pick up three quarters. If the Court nixes those subsidies, they'll have to look for other coverage.
As the showdown looms, the administration is throwing a temper tantrum, warning of "massive damage" and insisting it has no contingency plan to help these people. But Republicans in Congress are already discussing ways to help. The chairmen of three key Senate committees announced this morning that their party supports providing financial assistance to those who lose their subsidies, while Congress reworks the law. It's unlikely they'll be left high and dry.
Losers: Insurance companies
Their stock prices have soared since the healthcare.gov rollout - Humana up 66%, Cigna up 53% and Aetna up 52%. No wonder. ObamaCare forces the public to buy their policies.
It's like a law requiring all Americans to buy cars, subsidizing those who can't pay. That would send stocks for Detroit automakers skyrocketing too.
Insurers stand to haul in over a trillion dollars of taxpayer money during the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. No wonder they're bombarding the Supremes with arguments defending their cozy deal.
Losers: Governor Chris Christie
Governor Chris Christie twice vetoed bills to set up a state exchange. But some 180,000 New Jerseyans are signed up for subsidies on healthcare.gov. He and other Republican governors are in a tight spot, and looking to Congress for a remedy.
Loser: Jonathan Gruber
The ObamaCare architect told federal judges subsidies were intended for all fifty states. But he was caught on tape twice in 2012 saying the opposite.
Winners: People facing penalties for being uninsured.
The law slaps the uninsured with a penalty -- 2% of adjusted gross income in 2015. In states where subsidies are eliminated, so are penalties. Only accountants lose. The absurdly complicated requirements to avoid the penalty are an H&R Block Full Employment Bill.
Winners: Employers with fifty or more full-time workers
These employers must provide coverage or face a penalty. It only kicks in if a worker signs up for a subsidy. No subsidies mean no employer mandate. That provides relief for some 250,000 businesses. Job seekers and part-timers hoping for full-time work also benefit when employers no longer feel pressure to keep workforces under 50.
Winners: Swing state Democrats.
ObamaCare is a political albatross. New York's Senator Chuck Schumer blames it for the party's losses last November. The crisis will allow Democrats to get behind a compromise.
The Justices will likely reach a decision soon after this Wednesday's oral argument, but it won't be announced until June. If Obama loses, look for big changes to his health law in the second half of 2015 Republican lawmakers are preparing to drive a stake into the job killing employer mandate, and the expensive "the Washington knows best" coverage mandate, so people can buy what they want and work the hours they want.