The FEHBlog has been following the SCOTUSblog this month because as a DC lawyer it is fun to watch the Supreme Court decisions. Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its hotly awaited decision in King v. Burwell. The Court in a 6-3 decision written by the Chief Justice preserves the status quo with respect to subsidies in the ACA exchanges. That’s not a bad result in and of itself and the decision does not directly impact the FEHBP. If the decision had gone the other way, the likely result would have been that Congress would preserve the status quo on subsidies at least until after the next Presidential election and in return wrangle some ACA amendments out of the Administration. It would be messy but it would be small “d” democratic in the FEHBlog’s view.
This blog, which has been around for close to 10 years now, has documented how ACA has complicated and raised costs for the FEHBP. The key small “d” democratic flaw in the ACA is that it was enacted with no big r republican votes. If the Supreme Court had decided King v. Burwell the other way (and Justice Scalia explains in his dissent how it could have), then, the ACA could have become more palatable to both parties. But now, the ACA will remain a big issue for the 2016 Presidential election. The Supreme Court decision raised the stakes.
Today or Monday, the Supreme Court will decide the same sex marriage case. If as I expect the Supreme Court rules that the Constitution requires states to license same sex marriages, OPM will promptly and properly extend federal employee benefits coverage to same sex spouses nationwide.
Yesterday, OPM finished its gauntlet of data breach hearings on Capitol Hill There’s a good Govexec update on those hearings here.