Originally posted at The Wichita Eagle on June 23, 2015.

Rep. Daniel Hawkins, Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook: State Exchanges a Bad Idea

Obamacare is one of the most legally challenged laws in recent history. The latest challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court is King v. Burwell.

The crux of the suit rests on the writing of the Affordable Care Act, in which the wording is quite clear. Section 1401 authorizes premium subsidies only to individuals who enroll in coverage “through an exchange established by the state.” But the Internal Revenue Service has been paying subsidies to people who are enrolled through the federal exchange.

The Supreme Court is expected to make its ruling this month, and if it declares the subsidies illegal, then there will be intense pressure from the Obama administration to set up a state exchange in Kansas.

This is a bad idea. Setting up an exchange in Kansas would be tough to manage, especially when you consider the track record of exchanges in other states – many of which are abandoning them after sinking millions of dollars into them. Exchanges are also expensive to run, even by Obamacare’s inflated standards.

If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs in King, there will be Kansans who will lose their Obamacare subsidy, exposing them to the true cost of the high-priced health insurance caused by Obamacare’s mandates. Congress must help these individuals by rejecting the mandates that make health insurance so expensive in the first place.

This is a D.C.-induced problem that demands a D.C.-generated correction.

It’s time for Congress to step up and finally take charge when it comes to Obamacare. No more passing things to find out what’s in them and then saddling states with cleanup. No more telling hardworking Americans that government knows what’s best for them, especially when it comes to their health care. No more diverting limited taxpayer funds away from important services to pay for waste and abuse in the welfare system.

Congress needs to stand up and repeal this law.

Rep. Daniel Hawkins, R-Wichita, chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee. Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, chairs the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee.

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