The Obamacare Plaintiffs and Medicare

Politico‘s Jennifer Haberkorn scored a bit of a scoop by convincing the chief plantiff in the King v. Burwell litigation, David King, to let her into his Fredericksburg, VA living room, apparently because he didn’t want to leave her shivering on his front doorstep. Most of what she tells about him, though, seems to come from his recent social media expressions rather than from anything he said to her in person:

The man who could cripple Obamacare isn’t shy about telling the world that he thinks the president is an “idiot,” posting altered images of the first lady in Middle Eastern clothing and expressing his hatred for the “Democraps” who enacted the health care law.

Greg Sargent, however, finds something more interesting to examine about King and a couple of his co-plaintiffs:

[I]t’s fascinating that King is less than a year away from qualifying for Medicare. As it happens, Politico reports that two of the other four challengers are 64 and 63, also putting them very close to qualifying. Remember, this lawsuit is all about the plaintiff’s objection to being subjected to the individual mandate’s requirement that they get insurance. The plaintiffs are claiming injury because Virginia is on the federal exchange, which, they say, means they should not be getting the subsidies which are necessary under the law to require them to get insurance under the mandate. Yet three of the challengers are very close to having the mandate canceled for them by Medicare. (One, it should be noted, is 56 years old.)

It would be really interesting to know what these challengers think of Medicare, given their role in a lawsuit that could go a long way towards gutting the coverage guarantee for millions of Americans.

Unfortunately, we cannot answer Greg’s question yet, if ever. Maybe these folk share the not uncommon belief of seniors that Medicare is an “earned benefit” (at most half-true) in contrast to the “welfare” nature of Obamacare (again, at most half-true). Maybe they don’t like Medicare as it is but would like to “reform” it–though the most common Republican proposal for “reform” is to convert Medicare from being a defined government-provided benefit to a means-tested system of public subsidies for private insurance purchases like Obamacare. Maybe they’d love Obamacare if the hated president’s name wasn’t on it. It’s hard to say. But whatever their reasons, they’re willing to force millions of people who aren’t on the brink of qualifying for Medicare into a health care wilderness. No wonder they don’t want to give interviews.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.