KRUEN, Germany (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday that he was confident the Supreme Court would not rule against his healthcare law, describing it as an “easy case” that should never have been taken up by the court.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule this month on King v. Burwell, a challenge aimed at subsidies for premiums for 6.4 million low- and middle-income Americans in 34 states under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
“Under well-established precedent, there is no reason why the existing (healthcare) exchanges should be overturned through a court case,” Obama said.
“This should be an easy case. Frankly, it probably shouldn’t even have been taken up,” he said.
A ruling against the government would mean millions of Americans would no longer be able to afford health insurance, and also would broadly disrupt insurance markets, Obama said at a press conference at the conclusion of a Group of Seven (G7) meeting in Germany.
The law, aimed at reducing the millions of Americans without health insurance, is considered a signature domestic policy achievement for Obama and fellow Democrats.
Even Republicans who worked on the legislation have agreed that they intended for people buying insurance on the federally-run exchange to be eligible for subsidies, Obama said.
“I’m optimistic that the Supreme Court will play it straight when it comes to the interpretation,” Obama said.
“If it didn’t, Congress could fix this whole thing with a one-sentence provision,” he said.
The White House has made it clear that it does not have a contingency plan for losing the case, noting any fix to the law would likely require legislation, which would be difficult to pass in a Republican-controlled Congress.
Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Roberta Rampton and Noah Barkin; Editing by Michelle Martin and Susan Heavey