In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Olympia Snowe Undermines Supreme Court Case Against Obamacare

AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

However, Snowe said that having the subsidies available only to those using the state exchanges was “never part of our conversations at any point.”

“Why would we have wanted to deny people subsidies? It was not their fault if their state did not set up an exchange,” she said.

If the Supreme Court rules in the plaintiffs’ favor and calls the subsidies offered through the federal exchange illegal, some 7.5 million people stand to lose their subsidies and many more could see their premiums rise. It is widely believed the entire law will fall apart without the subsidies and Republican lawmakers have so far failed to come up with a back-up plan in the case of a ruling against Obamacare.

The New York Times interviewed a number of other people -- including staff of lawmakers of both parties -- involved in the drafting of the bill. While accounts varied as to how the contested language got into the law, they overwhelmingly disagreed with the plaintiffs’ premise that legislators intended to deny subsidies to those participating in the federal exchange.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell in March and is expected to rule in late June.

About The Author


Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.