What Is the Political Future of the ACA?


The ultimate fate of the ACA may rest with the Supreme Court, which will soon hear arguments in a case that will determine whether people who purchase insurance through a federally run exchange are eligible to receive subsidies.

(Click the play button on the audio player above to listen to this segment of the ACA panel discussion)

This HCPLive audio panel discussion features:

  • Joel Zinberg, MD, JD, Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City
  • David Sandman, PhD, Senior Vice President of the New York State Health Foundation
  • Patrick Cronin, New Jersey organizing director for “Get Covered America” a nonprofit with a federal contract to help people sign up for coverage
  • Tom Wilson (moderator), a partner at Kaufman Zita Group and former chairman of the NJ Republican State Committee

The panelists look at how well the ACA is working and discuss whether it is politically vulnerable.

A key case before the US Supreme Court (King v. Burwell) will likely be heard during the court’s spring term. At issue is whether the ACA forbids subsidies to people in the 36 states that have let the federal government set up their health insurance exchanges.

All the panelists agree that if the justices say the subsidies are technically illegal, that decision could effectively shut down the ACA.

Such a decision stripping away subsidies would affect millions of people. “It really would gut the law and take that affordability aspect out of it” Sandman says.

“You’re talking about more than 4 million people enrolled in those exchanges most of whom are getting subsidies,” Zinberg adds.

Cronin agreed that most people turn to the exchange to get subsidies so they can afford premiums. “It’s huge in New Jersey—84% of people got some sort of financial assistance,” he says.

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