Later this month, the Supreme Court will likely announce its decision on King v. Burwell, the lawsuit which asserts tax credits currently being paid to health insurers in 34 to 37 states that use the federal health insurance exchange are illegal. If the Supreme Court stops these tax credits, over six million people will be required to pay the full premiums for their Obamacare policies. This will cause a crisis, which will demand a response by Congress and the president.
President Obama recently stated that, Congress could fix this whole thing with a one-sentence provision. True: Repealing Obamacare in its entirety would only take one sentence. However, that is not likely what he meant. Congress would have the opportunity to propose changes to Obamacare, but they would have to be signed by a reluctant president who will never again face the voters.
Now that both chambers of Congress have Republican majorities, any legislative response will surely include eliminating the individual mandate, the most unpopular feature of the law. Victory for King would make Obamacare policies in most of the country unaffordable and thereby relieve 11.1 million people of the individual mandate. Any fix that re-imposes the mandate would be political kryptonite for this Congress.