The White House said that if the Supreme Court ends federal subsidies to the states under Obamacare in its King v. Burwell ruling, "pressure would be immediately on governors" to come up with an alternative.
At Wednesday's White House briefing for reporters, Newsmax noted Press Secretary Josh Earnest's repeated statements that he was unaware of any conversations between the administration and senators who have offered contingency plans in the event Burwell comes down against Obamacare. A ruling could come on Friday morning.
Has the administration had any conversations, we asked, with governors and their executive offices regarding what to do following a negative decision?
"I think what I'd refer you to is actually what senior administration officials have told members of Congress,” Earnest told us.
"I'm referring specifically to testimony from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Burwell, where she indicated that if some kind of reaction is necessary in the unlikely event of an adverse ruling before the Supreme Court, that the pressure would be immediately on governors — or I guess state officials and Congress — to try to address the situation."
The president's top spokesman did not specify if Burwell or another administration official had discussed precisely what to do with any governors or their staffs.
"This is something that is hard to predict without seeing the ruling," Earnest said. "But again, if there were — in the unlikely event that there were to be an adverse ruling — we've already indicated that there is no simple, easy fix that can be made solely by the executive branch."
As he has done for the past week, Earnest again voiced confidence that the high court will uphold the subsidies in Obamacare that affect 34, and possibly 37, states.
"We continue to have a lot of confidence in the strength of the legal arguments that were made before the Supreme Court in this matter," he told us. "We believe that it is very clear what the statute says, and that's why we continue to have confidence in the outcome."
Regarding President Barack Obama's plan to speak at the service for the nine victims of the Emanuel AME Church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, Earnest said, "it's my understanding that the president's departure on Friday will not be until after the typical 10:00 a.m. time frame in which Supreme Court decisions are announced."
Asked if it is possible the White House would issue a prompt response to any court ruling on Friday, Earnest said: "It's certainly possible, and it sounds like we would have that capability based on the president's current travel schedule. But I wouldn't make that commitment to you at this point."
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