Remember this, "NO HEALTH CARE COVERAGE GAP IN WISCONSIN." They said all Wisconsin residents will have access to affordable health care beginning January 1, 2014 and it's all due to Gov. Scott Walker's "reforms!!" Yowza, yowza, yowza.
Of course, Wisconsin's no gap in coverage health care was due to Obamacare, not Scott Walker.
It is true, Gov. Scott Walker is a diehard party guy, but deep down he craves Obamacare. For the past 3 years, he fulfilled the political wishes of party bosses by not setting up a state-run health care exchange, but he has also gone on record stating that he hopes Obamacare succeeds, thought repealing it is a mistake and even taunted Sen. Tammy Baldwin to join him in an effort to EXPAND Obamacare to ALL policy holders. Remember that?
Walker and his enablers, never to give proper credit to Obamacare, also made sure to take full credit for something referred to as "no gap in coverage" mysteriously created through his "reforms."
The "no gap in coverage" was created to give a boasting meme to states whose access to health care programs would cover all residents up to the ACA established new minimum Medicaid eligibility level of 138% of poverty income. After Walker severely tightened income eligibility requirements for the state's Badgercare program and refused to expand Medicaid forcing everyone left out into Obamacare, they repeatedly boasted that Wisconsin is the only state that does not have a gap in health care coverage WITHOUT expanding their Medicaid programs as part of the Affordable Care Act. Got that?
The common narrative was that it's Scott Walker and his reforms that did it all. They don't need the big bad federal government or Obama or the Medicaid expansion to insure state residents. Except, we do and most of that narrative is a lie.
So how could a recent federal appeals court ruling in DC seemingly against Obamacare affect Walker's health care reforms?
The health care law specifically authorizes subsidies in "an exchange established by the state," and the plaintiffs in both cases said the administration violated the law by also extending subsidies to the 36 states using the federal system. They said Congress meant for the tax credits to serve as an incentive for states to establish their own exchanges.
The ACA and Congress envisioned people below 138% of poverty receiving Medicaid – not tax credits through the ACA. So if the federal ruling sticks, those governors that did not expand Medicaid (Wisconsin) will not have Obamacare to kick around anymore.
As you know, Wisconsin is one of those 36 states that does not have its own exchange. That means those Wisconsin residents currently signed up to Obamacare could potentially lose those tax credits ...IF the ruling stands. However, the tax credits are still available until a full 11-member US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit makes a decision. That ruling could be put on hold yet again for a final SCOTUS ruling.
Following the DC court ruling, Walker said he has no plans to create Wisconsin's own health care marketplace to preserve those tax subsidies. Of course he has no plan. He never did.
Under Walker, Wisconsin's state health care coverage has been strictly reliant on Obamacare. If the ruling sticks, that means his faux "gap" meme that he has so preciously taken credit for, will fully collapse. The fact is; you can't genuinely boast the importance of no gap in coverage without coveting Obamacare. The wild card with Walker on this is he never really cared about state residents health care concerns. Obamacare was simply a convenient tool to reframe for his political advantage.
Personally, I think it was the intent of Congress to deliver tax credits to all states - with or without its own state exchange. But I'll go out on the limb here and say that Obama and ACA advocates should drop their appeals and let the DC Circuit Court ruling stand. I think it actually might be politically beneficial for Obamacare if the federal ruling denying tax credits for states without their own HC exchange ...sticks. This way, red state governors like Walker would no longer be able to have their cake and eat it too.
Walker could say 130,000 people were cut off from health care coverage due to failed Obamacare provisions written in law. But that would not be true since residents in 14 other states have Obamacare. If you want it along with that coveted "no gap in coverage" talking point ...it's available - you'll just have to embrace it.
I also don't think the DC ruling would end Obamacare. The federal government delivering it would be 14 states big and growing, and Gov. Mitt Romney proved you can operate nearly the same program in only one state. It's just a matter of juggling population to beneficiary ratios.
But ohhh ...the political fall-out in non-conforming states could be game-changing since we're not talking about 10,000 or 20,000 people. But up to 130,000 in Wisconsin alone!! I shudder to think.
Obviously, health care coverage should never be used as a pawn in a political game when lives are at stake. But these are extraordinary times and we're dealing with people who don't care at all. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.