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Contradictory court decisions on ObamaCare

Modern Health Care:

Federal judges in Richmond., Va., unanimously upheld the legality of subsidies for insurance exchanges in every state Tuesday. The ruling came roughly two hours after a panel of judges in Washington ruled subsidies on federal exchanges were illegal under language in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

I should have more later, assuming I'm able to fix the fucking router, but let me lay down the marker.

I think the plain meaning of the statute demands that only State exchanges get subsidized. On the other hand, there's a presumption -- gawd knows why -- that Congress only writes laws that make sense, and the plain meaning so does not make sense.

So it may be that John Roberts will once again come to Obama's rescue, no doubt making new law, exactly as his earlier decision treating the mandate as a tax did, making ObamaCare the mother of all nudges.

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Submitted by Dromaius on

I really do think a "make sensical" interpretation is that the language was meant as a carrot....The idea was that most every governor would implement a state Exchange and the few that didn't would be nudged into it by voters so voters would get their subsidies. The nice side effect would be that the nudging would maybe lead to electing Democrats.

It all went along with the notion that Obama was able to pass "health care" because **Obama**. Of course, smooth acceptance and implementation would also be because **Obama**.

None of this came to pass because **Republicans**. So, as it turns out, the Dems were just kidding with this carrot.

I think the language has a 50-50 chance of holding up in the Roberts court. The court has shown signs that they refuse to interpret congressional language. However, on the other hand they need to feed their corporate "persons." Soooooo. It will be interesting. I'll hold my breath until sometime in 2016. Or not.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

more conservative fixes--if reelected.

And get this--Joe Manchin and his crowd want to offer an even skimpier healthcare plan--the "Copper" Plan.

Manchin outlines this and other fixes on his official website.

Remember, I was posting a Doug Schoen piece on this topic, here--when it suddenly transformed, or morphed into another completely different piece with the same title.


Submitted by Dromaius on

From your comment from the post you linked in this comment:

Taxpayers can challenge the constitutionality of a tax obligation (but only after the tax has been collected) but tax un-payers can't really challenge the constitutionality of a tax credit.

The tax credit is tangled within a tax obligation because if the subsidy weren't available, the plaintiffs would be exempt from the mandate tax, because insurance would cost them more than 8% of their AGI.

So, essentially they are arguing that they should not be required to pay the tax even if they reject the subsidy because the subsidy is illegal. If the law were written to provide tax credits to those who purchase insurance, but there was no mandate, then I doubt the plaintiffs would have standing to sue. Ordinarily, you can ignore incentives. But as it stands, they would be harmed by ignoring the incentives.

So bottom line, this is ultimately about a tax, rather than a subsidy.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

someone (priceman?) had a tweet pointing out that the legal precedent for Medicare for All was clear and had we gone that way none of these challenges would have been possible.

Submitted by Dromaius on

Jonathan Turley has some great arguments regarding why the Supremes could ultimately rule for the plaintiffs in this case and possibly unanimously. From his article:

In Michigan vs. Bay Mills Indian Community, for example, Justice Elena Kagan noted that "this court does not revise legislation … just because the text as written creates an apparent anomaly as to some subject it does not address." In Utility Air Regulatory Group vs. EPA, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, stressed that "an agency has no power to tailor legislation to bureaucratic policy goals by rewriting unambiguous statutory terms." And a third strike came last week in National Labor Relations Board vs. Canning, when the Supreme Court unanimously found that President Obama had violated the Constitution in circumventing Congress through his use of recess appointments.

If the court rules in favor of Obama, they would likely have to do it as a one-off in a similar fashion to how they ruled in Bush v. Gore. Doing otherwise, would pretty much set the precedent of allowing presidents to interpret law any way they want, and would of course contradict many of this year's rulings.