Namesake of Obamacare subsidies case gets his health insurance from the government




David King, the “King” in King v Burwell, is not worried about what will happen if the Supreme Court rules in his favor and invalidates health insurance subsidies for roughly six million Americans this month. After all, he gets his health insurance through the Veterans Administration.

Because of course he does.

In an interview with The New York Times, King went on to say that he feels confident about their chances for winning. What’s more, he doesn’t even think that it will be that big of a deal if the subsidies are overturned. Apparently his lawyers have assured him that “things are in play to take care of the problem.”

President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act, via Wikimedia Commons

President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act, via Wikimedia Commons

Setting aside for the moment the fact that nothing is “in play to take care of the problem,” as there is a worrying lack of urgency from congressional Republicans in putting together backup plans in the event that King prevails, the fact that King is on VA health insurance means that he has no legitimate grievance in the case. This point is mentioned but not adequately addressed in the Times interview.

In King’s telling, he signed a declaration in September 2013 when the case was filed saying that he was not eligible for health insurance through the government or an employer, but a few months ago he went to a veterans outpatient clinic in Virginia to receive a veterans ID card. He got the card in order to get discounts at Lowe’s, but it doubles as a health insurance card at the VA. We’re left to simply assume that King did not realize in 2013 that, being a veteran, he was eligible for health insurance through the government via the VA.

The plaintiff’s standing in the case, or lack thereof, was brought up during arguments in the case by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. King said that he realized that there was what he considers a minor legal issue, but that similar concerns do not apply to the other plaintiffs in the case. So, you know, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

In the end, this all speaks to how little this case has to do with making people’s lives better and how much it has to do with sticking it to President Obama. As the Times article closes:

“I listen to everybody bitch and moan and cry about Obamacare,” Mr. King said. “We did something about it.”

Said the hero, with a complete lack of irony.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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