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Plaintiff in Obamacare case unaware Obamacare case would cause millions to lose coverage

(Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court case that could dismantle Obamacare, King v. Burwell, has at its core one plaintiff who called President Barack Obama the "anti-Christ" and another who doesn't want to see anyone lose their health insurance and isn't sure how she became part of the case in the first place.

At Mother Jones, Stephanie Mencimer dug deeper into their divergent backgrounds. Meet Rose Luck, for instance. This is what her Facebook wall looks like:


(Mother Jones)

Luck has also posted about how she believes "Obama got Muslim people to vote for him and that's how he won."


(Mother Jones)

The lead plaintiff, David King, "brought up Benghazi" when Mother Jones asked him about the case. Separately, Politico's Jen Haberkorn found his Facebook posts describing Obama as "the idiot in the White House" and describing the president's political party as the "Democraps."

But then there's Barbara Levy, a 64-year-old resident of Richmond who used to belong to the Sierra Club and subscribe to Mother Jones — in other words, not exactly the woman you'd expect to challenging the president's signature legislative accomplishment.

Here's what she told Mencimer when they spoke in January:

Levy has yet to attend any of the court proceedings in King v. Burwell, because she "didn't think the case was going anywhere." At the time we spoke, Levy said that she had never met the lawyers handling the case in person, despite the fact that it had been pending for more than a year. But she said she planned to travel to Washington for the Supreme Court oral arguments in March: "It's an adventure. Like going to Paris!"

When I asked her if she realized that her lawsuit could potentially wipe out health coverage for millions, she looked befuddled. "I don't want things to be more difficult for people," she said. "I don't like the idea of throwing people off their health insurance."

Levy couldn't even recall how she got involved in the case. "I haven't done a single thing legally. I'm gonna have to ask them how they found me," she told Mother Jones.

A case that could destroy Obamacare

In Obamacare's first year, 36 states defaulted to, the federally coordinated exchange. An estimated 87 percent of individuals who enrolled through the website are receiving subsidies - the precise subsidies that this court case calls into question.

Without subsidies, private insurance become unaffordable for many people who have already enrolled. The judicial process is still playing out, but according to recent analysis from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this decision could affect over 7.3 million people expected to receive federal subsidies in 2016.

If the plaintiffs prevail and subsidies are withdrawn, healthy people would drop their coverage, and only the people who are very sick - and therefore very expensive to insure - would keep their plans.

This sets up the classic insurance "death spiral". By putting coverage out of financial reach for so many people, it would undermine the entire purpose of the Affordable Care Act

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