Next week, the Supreme Court hears arguments in a case that could upend Obamacare insurance coverage for millions of people. Tuesday, the Secretary of Health and Human Services said there was little the administration could do to limit the impact of such a ruling. “We know of no administrative actions that could, and therefore we have no plans that would, undo the massive damage to our health care system that would be caused by an adverse decision,” wrote Sylvia Mathews Burwell in a series of identical letters to Republican leaders in Congress. The message represented a shift in tone from Ms. Burwell, who has been asked repeatedly by reporters and members of Congress what the administration would do in the aftermath of such a decision. In the past, her strategy has been to change the subject. We’re confident we’ll win the case, she’s said, and we’re focused on signing people up for insurance, not planning for a possible loss.
“The secretary is exactly right,” said Nicholas Bagley, an assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan, who has written about the caseextensively, and supports the government’s position. “There is no magic wand she can wave to fix this problem.”