With two Appeals Court decisions coming in yesterday on the legality of some Obamacare subsidies, the birth control mandate decisions and many others still to be adjudicated, I thought it would be prudent to compile a list of the winners and losers of this administration's crowning achievement up to this point.
Winner - Hobby Lobby and advocates for religious freedom. This one is obvious so I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it. Suffice it to say that this has been the biggest win for the right so far.
Winner - Insurance companies. They have received billions in subsidies as well as the benefit of Obamacare telling the entire country that they have to buy health insurance. However, they risk becoming losers if the Supreme court decides to invalidate the subsidies for the federal exchange.
Loser - Middle-class Americans. They are being jerked around by this entire fiasco. They're forced to buy a product that's had it's price increased by 40% in some cases all to subsidize others' healthcare needs. Should the Supreme court side with Halbig (as I firmly believe they should) then millions of people will be paying the higher premiums caused by Obamacare.
Winner - The elderly. Most of the increase in premiums is going to cover the cost of care for the oldest among us. This is great for them, as later in life we all face greater healthcare costs related to simply aging. But we have to consider the cost to those paying the freight. No one suggests that the elderly should be ignored, but there is no distinction in place for a single older woman with no family to help her living in abject poverty and a multimillionaire who needs no subsidized premium at all.
Loser - Young, healthy people. This group is being disproportionately penalized by higher healthcare cost to subsidize other groups. A single 28 year old man is paying far more than the market would otherwise dictate to cover the elderly, pregnancy (I doubt that would be a concern for any man) and the list goes on. This is one of the greatest transfers of wealth ever devised, and it's going from those just starting out in life to those who've had 50+ years to save up for these things or to pay for unneeded coverage.
Winner - Smart Republicans. Note the adjective "smart" there. I'd define this group as having opposed Obamacare while simultaneously offering alternative fixes to the healthcare system. Anyone can shout about how bad Obamacare is and go fundraising off of it, but the winners in the end will be those who step forward with alternatives as well.
Loser - Democrats. All of them. If you have a (D) after your name, this program is an albatross around your neck. To be sure, Nancy Pelosi isn't going to lose her seat over it, but anyone with a constituency not made up of absolute loons will be explaining their support for the rest of their (short) political lives. It will cost the Dems the Senate in 2014 as it did the house in 2010.
This is my short list. I'm sure there are others. Feel free to comment or you can reach me @Rightology on Twitter.