The future of Obamacare: What happens if SCOTUS cuts off millions of people?

Next week the Supreme Court will hear arguments in King v. Burwell, a case that will determine whether or not subsidies given to people who buy healthcare coverage through HealthCare.gov is constitutional. The plaintiffs are arguing that only people enrolled in exchanges “established by the state” qualify for subsides, which is a big problem because […]

Next week the Supreme Court will hear arguments in King v. Burwell, a case that will determine whether or not subsidies given to people who buy healthcare coverage through HealthCare.gov is constitutional. The plaintiffs are arguing that only people enrolled in exchanges “established by the state” qualify for subsides, which is a big problem because 34 states have declined or failed to set up state exchanges.

Some governors from around the country are scrambling to pressure Congressional leaders to figure out contingency plans in the case that the court ends up making a decision that could leave millions uninsured. Others are shrugging their shoulders and pointing fingers at the president.

Conversations about the upcoming case came up at the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington this weekend. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who is also chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said the potential fallout following a decision for the plaintiffs has “been probably the most frequent topic of conversation,” according to Politico.

The subject was touched on by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell at a closed-door luncheon session with governors on Sunday.

Politico reported:

Burwell has repeatedly declined to acknowledge or discuss contingency plans, saying over and over in public that the administration is confident it will win in court — a position she maintained during her meeting with governors, Haslam said. And the Republicans who now control both the House and Senate say they are working on a plan to replace Obamacare.

It seems that for some governors, instead of making potential plans following the ruling, they just plan to wait and see what happens and go from there.

“It’s way too early to respond to a Supreme Court ruling which hasn’t been — in which there has not been a conclusion,” said Republican North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory. “The nation and the states don’t have a B Plan. … We would like to have a plan. We’re still trying to figure out the current Obamacare details because there’s a lot that changes every day.”

A lot of people share some level of responsibility in how this could all turn out, but that doesn’t mean they will acknowledge it or do anything just yet.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a conservative Republican, said it’s not his job to find a solution to the problem, even though 9 out of 10 of the 1.6 million Floridians who are insured through Obamacare are currently getting subsidies and could risk being uninsured.

“This is a federal program, it’s a federal problem,” he said at the American Action Forum on Friday.

Not every Republican governor is saying it’s not their problem.

“Obviously, those that are dependent on the subsidy that’s in the exchange, every governor should be concerned about what happens to them,” said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Arkansas has created it’s own exchange, but currently, coverage won’t be available until 2017, which means if the court rules for King, there will be a gap. Hutchinson said the outcome of the case “could emphasize the importance of [a state exchange], or it could undermine the whole system. So it all depends on what the court says and what Congress does.”