Obamacare

Law, Not Policy, Should Guide Supreme Court in Obamacare Subsidies Case

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Whitehouse.gov

For months now, the Obama administration has been playing a coy game with the latest Supreme Court challenge to Obamacare, refusing to say what kind of plans they are making in the event that the High Court rules against them.

The issue, which the court will hear on Wednesday of this week, is whether the administration's decision, through an Internal Revenue Service rule, to provide subsidies for insurance purchased through the law's federally run exchanges is allowed under the text of the law, which says that subsidies are availably only in exchanges established by a state. If the court decides against the administration, subsidies for several million individuals would quickly be cut off absent any legislative follow-up.

Last week, the administration seemed to go a step further, suggesting that they have no plans at all. "We know of no administrative actions that could, and therefore we have no plans that would, undo the massive damage to our healthcare system that would be caused by an adverse decision," said Health and Human Service Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell in a letter to Congress.

The language here is slippery. It's not that the administration has no backup plans whatsoever. It's that the administration claims to have no plans that would fully reverse the result of a court decision for the challengers. Surely the administration has prepared in great detail for an adverse ruling—one Republican legislator suggested at a hearing last week that the White House has put together a 100-page dossier of potential responses—although what, exactly, the White House would do remains unclear.

But the primary point of the letter wasn't to clarify what the administration would or wouldn't do in the event of an adverse ruling. Instead, it was to highlight, again, the disruption that one would cause—and perhaps, in the process, make the court ever so slightly more reluctant to rule against the administration.

The administration, in other words, wants the Court to believe that ruling for the challengers would be maximally painful and disruptive.

Republicans in Congress, in turn, are playing their own version of the same game. GOP leaders have indicated that various groups on the Hill are working on contingency plans and Obamacare alternatives. One plan, an update to an existing proposal by a trio of Republican senators, has already been released. Various other ideas about what to do in the event of a ruling for the challengers have been floated by legislators and influential policy experts on the right. And today, in The Washington Post, three GOP senators—Orrin Hatch, Lamar Alexander, and John Barasso—write that "Republicans have a plan to create a bridge away from Obamacare."

Their plan would "provide financial assistance to help Americans keep the coverage they picked for a transitional period," in order to minimize the disruption, and it would allow for some federalist flexibility, giving "states the freedom and flexibility to create better, more competitive health insurance markets offering more options and different choices."

As outlined in the Post, the plan leaves lots of questions: What sort of financial assistance would be provided, and for how long? What sorts of flexibility would states have, and under what legal authority? And are there enough votes in the House and the Senate to actually pass something—anything—that resembles what the trio of senators describe?

To the last question, the senators write that "we have had many discussions with our Senate and House Republican colleagues on this issue, and there is a great deal of consensus on how to proceed."

It's possible that the House and Senate could unite on a plan relatively quickly. In an interview with Bloomberg News last Friday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) talked about the need for Republicans to create a "bridge out of Obamacare" if the court sided with the challengers. The use of the same descriptive language suggests that, if nothing else, parts of the House and the Senate are on the same page when it comes to messaging.

But as last Friday's chaotic House vote on Department of Homeland Security funding suggests, it's hard to know whether Republicans could really get anything like what the three senators describe to pass. As Ezra Klein, who also raised some of the same questions about the GOP trio's plan, argues, it's just as likely that Republicans would not be able to agree on any fallback at all. Certainly, the history suggests that it would be very hard for Republicans to unite around any health care plan; years of promises to repeal and replace Obamacare have produced a number of proposals, but little consensus. Mostly they have demonstrated how difficult consensus is to achieve.  

But consensus isn't really the goal here. Instead, the Republicans are playing a strategy that is the reverse of the one employed by the White House: They want to convince the court that the fallout from a ruling for the challengers would not be too great, because the GOP has a mitigation strategy at the ready.

What this messaging tug-of-war leaves us with, then, is an odd dynamic in which the administration insists it has no contingency plan, even though it (likely) does, and Republicans in Congress insist they have a backup, even though they don't.

It is understandable that both sides would take this approach; after all, as Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett has argued, the Supreme Court is more likely to rule against the administration if Republicans have some alternative in place. By the same token, the High Court is more likely to rule for the administration if there is no contingency waiting in the wings. (And to the extent that it matters, I think Republicans have at least a somewhat better argument; they don't yet have a plan, but they are at least working on plans, while the administration is absurdly attempting to imply that it has no playbook should it lose.) 

But even though this approach is understandable, and perhaps even inevitable, it is not ideal.

The question before the court isn't whether a ruling against the administration would be disruptive. It's whether the administration's actions are authorized by the statute. To the extent that a ruling against the administration would be disruptive, it would only be because the Supreme Court decided that the administration exceeded its authority in the first place. The law either authorizes the subsidies or it doesn't—and if it doesn't the subsidies should not have been granted in the first place. Neither the scale of the disruption nor the readiness of some alternative render the administration's actions more or less legal.

Despite the efforts of both sides to influence the court, this isn't really controversial. What matters is what the law says. Indeed, sometimes disruption is required by the law, and when that happens it doesn't mean the law should be tossed aside. It's worth looking back a few weeks to the administration's announcement that it would be cutting off coverage through Obamacare for 200,000 people who failed to verify their legal status in the United States. This was, it seems reasonable to assume, tremendously disruptive for a fairly large number of people. It was also required by law.

Obviously the administration's position is that, in this case, federal exchange subsidies are allowed under the law. But this is the core of the dispute: What is authorized by the law, and what isn't? Policymakers in Congress can and should consider the policy consequences of a ruling against the administration, but the Supreme Court should be concerned with the law and its limits, regardless of the consequences. 

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  1. What is there to talk about here?

    Here’s what’s going to happen. We can speculate all we like, won’t change anything.

    4 – 4 split along ideological lines, and Mr. Penaltax twists logic into something rivaling quantum weirdness and the subsidies are upheld.

    1. Yep. The Court has become a rubber stamp for Congress, even when Congressional intent was demonstrably the opposite of what they later claimed (which is overwhelmingly true here, thank you Mr. Gruber).

    2. Possibly this:

      The subsidies are still available as a tax credit. You just can’t get them paid in advnace directly to the insurance company. You have to file for the tax credit when you file your return.

      Rationale: It would violate some sort of provision of the law to make tax credits available only to resident of certain states.

      1. This is like if you work for a State institution in N.H. but live in ME. The State of N.H. will not take out ME. income tax out of your paycheck, leaving you to pay it all at tax time. Big pain in the ass.

        1. I thought LePage was going to do away with the income tax.

  2. The Nazgul’s March/Theme

    Since we are talking about the Supreme Court. I think this is the music that should be played whenever they dodder into view.

    1. How about the Liberty March?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6Dd0EaEbqg

      Always makes me think of something else… thanks to the Britcoms.

  3. http://www.slate.com/blogs/mon….._guts.html

    On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will finally hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the conservative lawsuit designed to cripple Obamacare by cutting off subsidies to millions of Americans who have come to rely on them for purchasing health insurance.

    Thank god that web journalists in America can maintain unbiased positions as they report on the top news of the day.

    1. Does the lawsuit attempt to kill puppies as well?

      1. I’m not sure. I didn’t make it past the opening sentence.

        1. I am sure the guy at slate thinks it does. What a fucking hack.

      2. See what I’m talking about, John?

        It’s a “conservative” lawsuit. It’s been “designed” to “cut off subsidies to millions of Americans”.

        That’s why winning would work in the D’s favor.
        Which is why they WILL win, because the D’s WANT this battle, and I am sure they have instructed the liberal justices accordingly.

        Which is why the administration is keeping it’s cards so close and not making any plans (that we can see). Because they want to lose the case, so they can use it as leverage to force the Republicans to enact a favorable (to them) set of “fixes”.

        1. It won’t happen. This is not the same as shutting down the government. Any bill that Obama would sign would never get out of the House. Worse still, once you start talking “fixes” you have to admit the act is broken and Obama will never do that.

          They are terrified of this happening. It would give the Republicans all of the leverage. Obamacare would fall apart without this fix and Obama wouldn’t be able to get a fix without going through the Republican Congress.

          Remember, people like Toobin and Greenhouse are nothing but Democratic operatives. If the Democrats wanted to lose this case, they would be writing about how it has a chance. Instead they are writing about how partisan an illegitimate a decision against them would be in hopes of bullying Roberts to back down. If Roberts doesn’t, they are screwed and they know it.

      3. Ask Bo.

        1. Bo knows law.

    2. More unbiased journalism, from Reuters:

      “Congress could not have chosen clearer language to express its intent to limit subsidies to state exchanges,” the plaintiffs, represented by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, argue in their brief.

      That is fiction. Provable fiction.


      King v. Burwell hinges on one poorly worded sentence cited by the plaintiffs in a 961-page law that seems to negate a linchpin of that law ? the availability of those subsidies to middle-class families so they can buy health insurance. The question is whether that sentence should somehow outweigh all the other provisions in the law that contradict it. And when the meaning of a federal law ends up being disputed in court because the wording is vague or internally contradictory, the dispute turns on the kinds of facts journalists are used to digging out. That’s because judges are supposed to figure out what the legislators intended the law to mean and to do.

      Every single thing I quoted is wrong.

  4. There simply is not a viable case that this was a “drafting mistake” such that the Court must read it as something other than it says. The court is not going to overrule Chevron which says “the plain meaning controls”. The plain meaning here is clear. Moreover, the legislative history clearly shows that Congress meant what it said and one of the key advisers who helped draft it “the infamous Jonathan Gruber” admitted the same. Liberals try and pretend there is no way it could mean what it says when in fact it makes perfect sense that Congress would gives states the incentive to set up their own exchanges by subsidizing citizens from states who did so.

    1. It means what they want, when they want it you rethuglican fool!

      This thing needs to die.

  5. I think there might be an equal protection argument against the provision. Can the government consistent with equal protection withhold subsidies from people because their state government refuses to set up an exchange? I keep trying to think of an analogous example but I can’t. But it would be a pure rational relationship test. And it is pretty hard for a statute not to pass such a test.

    That being said, if you are looking for a way Roberts could come up with another “penaltax” like decision where he gives liberals what they want but uses some odd ball reason, equal protection might be a way he could do it. You get four justices affirming Chevron and reading it as it is written, four justices affirming Chevron but pretending the language doesn’t mean what it says and somehow it is okay to save Congress and then Roberts voting with the latter four but filing some bizaro concurring opinion saying that the statute means what it says but can’t be enforced that way because of equal protection.

    1. But if the issue is that it somehow violates equal protection, then the court must strike it down. The court has no authority to retroactively re-write an unconstitutional law, only to send it back to the legislature for re-writing.

      1. No. They strike down that part and say everyone gets the subsidy. it would be like if the feds said everyone but Mexicans gets a special bonus on their taxes. The court could fix it by killing the bonus but they could also fix it by telling the government to give it to Mexicans as well.

        1. But the court has no authority to enact any spending, or to order the legislature to enact spending – they are coequal branches of government. They can only, legally, strike down something as unconstitutional, they can’t legally enact their own legislative ‘fix’. The can only send it back to the legislature to craft a bill that passes constitutional muster.

          1. They do in the name of equal protection. For example, they did just that in school desegregation cases. They ordered states to spend money to improve the schools in minority districts and to bus students to other districts.

            1. Which I would argue is also improper. But I get your point, it is something they have taken upon themselves the authority to do, whether legitimate or not.

              1. I agree that it is. I am just saying what they did.

      2. The court has no authority to retroactively re-write an unconstitutional law,

        Courts do it all the time.

        Ex. A: The Sebelius case.

        Ex. B: Many of the gay marriage cases. In those cases, the courts are rewriting statutes to allow gay marriage, rather than striking down statutes that don’t allow gay marriage.

    2. Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community involved a statute called the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. Here’s the Kagan quote in context (citations omitted):

      Michigan . . . urges us to adopt a “holistic method” of interpreting IGRA that would allow a State to sue a tribe for illegal gaming off, no less than on, Indian lands. Michigan asks here that we consider “IGRA’s text and structure as a whole.” But (with one briefly raised exception) Michigan fails to identify any specific textual or structural features of the statute to support its proposed result. Rather, Michigan highlights a (purported) anomaly of the statute as written: that it enables a State to sue a tribe for illegal gaming inside, but not outside, Indian country. “[W]hy,” Michigan queries, “would Congress authorize a state to obtain a federal injunction against illegal tribal gaming on Indian lands, but not on lands subject to the state’s own sovereign jurisdiction?” That question has no answer, Michigan argues: Whatever words Congress may have used in IGRA, it could not have intended that senseless outcome.

      1. But this Court does not revise legislation, as Michigan proposes, just because the text as written creates an apparent anomaly as to some subject it does not address. Truth be told, such anomalies often arise from statutes, if for no other reason than that Congress typically legislates by parts?addressing one thing without examining all others that might merit comparable treatment. Rejecting a similar argument that a statutory anomaly (between property and non-property taxes) made “not a whit of sense,” we explained in one recent case that “Congress wrote the statute it wrote”?meaning, a statute going so far and no further. The same could be said of IGRA’s abrogation of tribal immunity for gaming “on Indian lands.” This Court has no roving license, in even ordinary cases of statutory interpretation, to disregard clear language simply on the view that (in Michigan’s words) Congress “must have intended” something broader.

        1. Good quote, thanks. There is no way to uphold this without looking like a fool. People like Toobin and Greenhouse get paid to look like idiots in support of the cause. The Justices don’t and are a bit more sensitive to looking stupid.

          1. From yesterday’s WSJ Best of the Web.

  6. Law, Not Policy, Should Guide Supreme Court in Obamacare Subsidies Case

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahaaaaaaaaa…. chuckle…..

    *cries*

    1. “Law, Not Policy, Should Guide Supreme Court in Obamacare Subsidies Case”

      What precedent is there for this? Hahaha!!

  7. I love you you guys keep using that same picture. It’s the perfect dog whistle.

  8. I think the statute is going down. And it wouldn’t shock me if it was by a 6-3 or better majority. Roberts craves perceived legitimacy more than anything. He knows the liberals are going to go insane if they don’t get what they want and conservatives are going to kill him if he pretends the statute doesn’t mean what it says. Most importantly, you can’t ignore the language of the statute without ignoring or overturning Chevron, which none of the justices wants to do.

    The justices are not as wickedly partisan as people think. Even the initial Obamacare decision wasn’t so much partisan on the Liberals’ part as an expression of the fact that they honestly believe that the Commerce Clause is a trap door inserted to get around all limits placed on the federal government. In this case, even the liberals are going to have a hard time pretending the statute doesn’t have a plain meaning. I bet one or two of them can’t do it. And all Roberts needs is a single liberal to vote his way and he can claim it wasn’t a partisan decision.

    1. Suppose it does go down?

      I wouldn’t put it past Obumbles to try and ignore the court.

      1. See my comment below. If he ignores it and pays out the subsidies anyway, the only remedy would be impeachment, which is no remedy. I give at least even money that is what he will do. And watch the media and Democrats in Congress tell the country that giving the President the power to ignore the Supreme Court and spend money without authorization from Congress and in violation of the law is totally okay when their side does it. The terrorist Republicans gave Obama no choice.

        1. If he ignores it and pays out the subsidies anyway, the only remedy would be impeachment, which is no remedy.

          Special prosecutor appointed by Congress to go after Anti-Deficiency Act violations.

          Don’t even have to lay a glove on Obama, necessarily. Start investigating and charging senior agency officials at DHS and IRS.

          1. I don’t you could appoint a special prosecutor without support of at least some Democrats in the Senate, which will never happen.

      2. I don’t think he can write that many checks, and while *he* might get away with it, some clerk in Snakesnavle, ID doesn’t wanna lose her cushy job writing illegal checks.

    2. I love the Commerce Clause as Trap Door analogy. That is great. To get to 6-3 which liberal Justice is most likely to defect?

      1. Good question. Oddly, maybe Kegan. She is a total government hack but that also means she is a real stickler for Chevron. Chevron basically says you don’t give the private party mercy by reading the statute any way but what it says.

        1. Keep in mind, it doesn’t necessarily even get to Chevron if the court finds there is no ambiguity, also a possibility.

    3. Here is the arugment being made by the supporters of the law.

      http://www.slate.com/articles/…..ick.2.html

      I asked her for the principles of statutory construction that the justices will deploy. She said that rule number one is that context matters, and text cannot be interpreted in a vacuum. She added that you can’t read a section that makes the rest of the statute senseless. She also said that it makes no sense to assume Congress sowed the seeds of the statute’s destruction right into it. Mostly, she said that the courts have interpretive rules preventing states from being penalized by statutes that bait and switch by offering them things which are then taken away without warning.

      1. She added that you can’t read a section that makes the rest of the statute senseless

        But it doesn’t make it senseless. It makes perfect sense for Congress to set up a system that tells states “if you don’t help us implement this, we are not giving your citizens subsidies”. They always say “well it makes no sense” and then never explain why. That is because they can’t. It makes perfect sense. If the state doesn’t want to set up an exchange or be a part of this, why should it’s citizens benefit from the subsidies? The people in states that do set up exchanges are paying state taxes to do so. So why should the people in other states get a free ride?

        1. The “makes no sense” argument doesn’t hold up very well when “the architecture of Obamacare” is on tape explaining exactly why the text of the law makes sense.

        2. They always say “well it makes no sense” and then never explain why.

          They don’t have to. It’s FYTW. Saying “context matters” might as well say “fuck the written word, we’re going on a vague recollection, zeitgeist, and word-of-mouth”.

          It’s the thought terminating portion of the concept; I have a vague sense of the intent and, absent the context I dreamed up, *I* can’t make sense of the written word.

          “I know what it means, any other interpretation is nonsense.”

      2. That’s a wonderful post facto pretext, right there. Look at all the built-in assumptions.

  9. In my memory the Nazgul have stepped up their game in the excretion of pure travesty. In my eyes they no longer have any credibility whatsoever. Hell, Justice Penaltax stated on the record that he has no intention of doing his fucking job.

    What do we keep the bastards around for?

  10. they honestly believe that the Commerce Clause is a trap door inserted to get around all limits placed on the federal government.

    I don’t think they “honestly” believe that the writers of the constitution intended the commerce clause to effectively negate almost the entire rest of the constitution. They know damn well it’s bullshit.

    1. No. I think they think that.

      1. I just don’t see how any educated person can actually believe something so illogical and patently ridiculous.

        1. Don’t be silly; educated people believe illogical and ridiculous things all the time.

          There’s no reason to think John is wrong. I totally agree.

          1. What is that famous Orwell quote Niki? Something about some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual would believe them?

  11. If they do strike it down, I give even money that Obama ignores the court and spends the money anyway. Why not? What is the Congress going to do about it? Impeach him? And the courts won’t stop him because no one will have standing to sue. You can’t have standing without an injury and no one gets injured by getting free money.

    1. Taxpayers get injured pay having to pay for it.

      1. Not enough to give them standing. If it did, you could sue the government over every anti-deficiency act violation. You can’t do that.

        The Constitution says no money can be drawn from the Treasury without Congress. The President controls the treasury. Now, there is a law called the anti-deficiency act that says the executive can’t spend money unless it is appropriated. If the executive ignores that? The remedy is criminal prosecution by the Justice Department.

        Stop laughing now at the thought of that actually happening.

        1. The remedy is criminal prosecution by the Justice Department.

          Or a special prosecutor.

          That would require a sudden growth of spinal columns and testicles in Congress, I know.

          But its a theoretical possibility, no?

          1. “Or a special prosecutor.”

            See the Democrats embrace the concept of the Unitary Executive faster than the eye can follow.

    2. That is my thought as well.

      It is hard for me to understand how the left keeps supporting Obumbles. Everything he touches turns to shit right before our eyes.

      1. progressives don’t mind ruling over shit if the alternative is not ruling at all.

    3. No he will use it as a bludgeon against the Republicans. Those evil Koch-funded fat cats want to take money out of the pockets of hard working Americans!

      1. It won’t do him any good. It is his bill. People will blame him for the drafting being fucked up. And it is the Red States that didn’t set up the exchanges. The voters in those states hate him anyway. The ones who might believe that argument will get their subsidies and likely not even realize this ever happened.

        1. No, they won’, because if it wasn’t for those evil Koch-backed court cases, and those evil conservative Supreme Court justices, everything would be fine.

    4. I agree. The budget process is so thoroughly in the shitter as to be completely useless, so they can’t go that route. And they sure as hell don’t have the stones (let alone the votes) to impeach him no matter what he does.

      1. The budgeting process isn’t screwed up. What is screwed up is that every time Congress uses its power, Obama and the Democrats just shut down the government and the media blames the Republicans.

        Congress has the power of the purse. If it doesn’t fund something and the President vetoes the entire funding bill or funding for all of the government in protest, it is the President not the Congress who is shutting down the government.

        1. Yeah, that’s what I meant by “in the shitter”: it’s been tossed there on purpose.

          1. Don’t worry, all it will take is a President Walker for the media to suddenly realize Congress not the President has all of the power.

            1. When President Walker is signing legislation passed by a Republican House and Senate, the mainstream media will be calling for armed revolution.

              1. Won’t matter much.

                Their audience is the side with no guns.

  12. Once again, unto the breach: non-unanimous rulings on what a law means ought to strike down the law in its entirety and tell Congress to do a better job next time. If the highly educated judges can’t agree on what a law means, how in the hell can anyone else, especially the people who are supposed to bow and scrape before the rule of law?

  13. “provide financial assistance to help Americans keep the coverage they picked for a transitional period,”

    Opening shots. The D’s will push hard to make that “transitional period” last forever. Just like the “Doc Fix”, and an ever growing numer of “tax extenders”.

    As I’ve said before, an adverse ruling is not going to mean subsidizes won’t be provided in federal exchanges, because the political pressure to make them available will be enormous, especially on Republicans, given that it is mostly Republican states that don’t have their own exchanges.

    The R’s don’t really have that strong of a hand here. They can push to make all sorts of changes to the law, in exchange for making the susidies available. But the D’s don’t have as much to lose. They can afford to sit on their hands and demand a “clean” bill that simply authorizes the subsidies, and nothing else.

    1. The countervailing political pressure should come from business.

      If the plaintiffs win, businesses in those states are freed from at least some of the penalties (and hence employer mandates) of the law. I suspect they will fight to keep that.

      1. Good point.
        Of course, the R’s could just tack that onto the “transitional” subsidies. Say that “these subsidies will not be considered in section” blah blah, which imposes penalties on employers.

  14. What is the Congress going to do about it?

    It’s pretty remarkable that the Republicans seem so feckless in light of the fact that, contrary to popular belief, their brand is better than ever. Looking at Congress, governorships, and state legislators they haven’t been this powerful since the 20s, yet you’d think from their behavior that their fearful of ever winning an election again.

    1. They’re fearful of never winning the one thing that, in all honesty, isn’t that great a prize anyways.

  15. Here’s another possibility:

    Maybe they will argue, to the courts, that making the “tax subsidies” available in some states and not others would be unconstitutional. Aren’t the subsidies somehow distributed by the IRS, so you can technically still get a tax credit if you buy an off-exchange plan?

    1. To get the tax bennies, you have to buy through the exchange. I’m pretty sure.

      I haven’t heard of any arguments that it would be illegal to allow the bennies in some states but not others.

      I don’t really see an argument there, to tell you the truth. Give it a go, if you want.

      1. Well, perhaps there is some constitutional principle that taxes have to be applied to all US residents equally, regardless of which state they lived in.

        You couldn’t have a special tax that applied only to residents of New York, for example.
        So likewise, you couldn’t have a tax credit that applied only to residents of some states.

  16. The fact that progressive commentators are now largely making smug dismissals of the lawsuit as being frivilous and beyond absurd really communicates the terror they are feeling about their prospects at court.

    They don’t want the intellectually goose-stepping morons that comprise their fanbase to consider or even expose themselves to the arguments against HHS.

    I think this goes down on a 6-3 vote for the reasons John describes above. Plus in addition to the obvious legal issues, Obamacare is not popular or as highly anticipated the way it was 3 years ago. The pressure will be lessened for Roberts.

    1. Everything they say is a lie. So when they said “this is ridiculous”, the suit was of course absolutely valid and likely to succeed.

    2. Yes. I am reading truly absurd things about the suit these days. The Reuters story I linked above calls it “a fairy tale.” Saw something earlier about how it as “widely considered one of the most absurd lawsuits in recent years.” Etc. No matter how you come down on the legal question, those things are simply wrong. They are freaking out.

    3. If you create a mindset in which losing is not even considered as a valid possibility, you do two things:

      1) You exert social pressure on people on your side to stay in line, or appear to be lunatics.

      2) You simultaneously promote the perception that the only conceivable reason for losing is due to the venality of the opposition. If there is no possible rational argument for their position, they can only hold it because they are evil liars.

  17. “Law, not policy”? That ship has long ago sailed, I fear.

  18. Just for the record, here are the states with federal exchanges:

    Alabama
    Alaska
    Arizona
    Florida
    Georgia
    Indiana
    Kansas
    Louisiana
    Maine
    Mississippi
    Missouri
    Montana
    Nebraska
    New Jersey
    North Carolina
    North Dakota
    Ohio
    Oklahoma
    Pennsylvania
    South Carolina
    South Dakota
    Tennessee
    Texas
    Utah
    Virginia
    Wisconsin
    Wyoming

    1. Fuck John Kasich!

    2. Yessah! Go Pine Tree State!

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  20. “We know of no administrative actions that could, and therefore we have no plans that would, undo the massive damage to our healthcare system that would be caused by an adverse decision,”

    Translation:
    “We fucked-up and don’t know how to fix our fuck-up, so we’ll beg for sympathy”

  21. The Dems put a poison pill into the law. Now they’re changing the medicine after a lot of states decided to take the pill.

    At least when they called the tax “not a tax, but a penalty” the wording in the law had the form of a tax, so the Supreme Court could uphold it. In the subsidy case the talk matched the wording, so there’s a much tougher time getting out.

    Of course, stating all that, the Supreme court will probably vote to keep it around using some new right found in the 14th amendment.

  22. The ACA is a giant shit show the needlessly fucks with people lives. I would rather have Insurance companies compete across state lines, and the AMA not lobby for economic protection in the medical professions. /drops mic

  23. Please folks a federal exchange established in a state that refused to build a state-exchange is a state exchange established by the state that refused to create it own private exchange. These “federally” established exchanges are in fact established by each state.

    No Supreme Court will allow the United States Congress or President to become prima facia guilty for promissory estoppel.

    There is absolutely no chance whatsoever that SCOTUS will create the largest class-action liability ever. This argument is frivolous and should cause sanctions.

    1. CN_Foundation|3.2.15 @ 5:32PM|#
      “Please folks a federal exchange established in a state that refused to build a state-exchange is a state exchange established by the state that refused to create it own private exchange. These “federally” established exchanges are in fact established by each state.”

      Yes, CN, we fully realize that lefties are not competent to understand the difference between “up” and “down”.
      Please peddle your bullshit elsewhere.

  24. If the Republicans had any brains at all, they would let Obozocare fall flat. When subsidies go away, the residents of 30+ states would be saddled with Obozocare without subsidies – which is freaking expensive for the average person. The Republicans can rightly say that they had nothing to do with Obozocare – that all the rules of Obozocare were created purely and solely by Demoncraps. They could then introduce legislation that scraps Obozocare in its entirety. Of course Obozo would veto such a threat to his “signature accomplishment”. And after introducing Obozocare-scrapping legislation a half-dozen times or so, and telling the world that only electing a Republican President would allow them to kill Obozocare…

  25. Dear fellow libertarians ,

    I don’t see the problem at all. Why should we care if poor people who have cancer get dropped from their insurance plans? Limited government is all about e-cigs, gay guys at CPAC, and the rise of hipster entrepreneurs.

    I IMed today with my friend in Copenhagen yesterday and told him what was going on. Personally, I don’t feel like I have a stake in this battle because I don’t really care all that much if Obamacare goes bellyup, but I could almost literally see my colleague shaking his head in disgust. He probably just doesn’t know how good we have it here in the US.

    1. Tale your murderous bullshit and economic illiteracy elsewhere

    2. Gosh, if one of your friends in Denmark thinks a legislative change is a bad idea, I guess that means that we should forget all economic reasons for it and just go with what he says.

      I mean, who are we to question the wisdom of someone from a country where the central tax, regional tax, and value added tax each average over 22%?

    3. In a world of finite resources, the government will always have to make decisions about who gets treatment and who doesn’t. Perhaps a society which devotes 2/3 of it’s GDP to health care sounds wonderful to you, but it’s not necessarily a universal truth that providing people with free healthcare should have priority over other goods.

      1. Hi, Countries that have universal access to health care spend less as a percentage of their GDP for health care. Efficiency is only one of the reasons why these kinds of systems work better than ours — where primary care for the working poor means you go to the ER.

        1. american socialist|3.2.15 @ 9:49PM|#
          “Hi, Countries that have universal access to health care spend less as a percentage of their GDP for health care.”

          Hi, dipshit! Yes, they do, which is the reason people from those countries come here for decent medical care.
          Oh, and did you pay your mortgage yet, or are you still a slimy freeloader?
          And fuck off.

        2. This: “Countries that have universal access to health care spend less as a percentage of their GDP for health care.”

          Goes hand in hand with this: “In a world of finite resources, the government will always have to make decisions about who gets treatment and who doesn’t.”

    4. american socialist|3.2.15 @ 8:12PM|#
      “Dear fellow libertarians ,”

      Dear lying piece of shit,
      Don’t ever presume you have an idea of what libertarianism means, asshole.

    5. Could you post the receipts where you actually pay for someone else’s medical care, food or shelter please ?

  26. Get government out of the health care business as much as possible. Limit them to limited regulations and financial support to those who need it.

    Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare and VA hospitals should be abolished.
    People under these programs and those who are financially below the poverty level should be given a yearly amount that they could use to purchase health insurance.
    Keep the federal regulation stating that insurance companies have to cover pre-existing conditions as long as the person had previous insurance.
    Allow people to purchase insurance from any state.
    Deregulate state health insurance markets.
    Unhinge medical insurance from employers in the tax code.

    Getting government out and increasing competition in this way will lower health care costs. It cuts the bureaucracy costs, cuts the fraud costs and improves competition and quality of care.

  27. Obama has a plan, another executive order. Congress is irrelevant.

  28. Where in the constitution is the federal government given the right or responsibility to ensure that the citizens of the free states have or purchase medical insurance (or any other good or service) ? Absent such federal powers why must congress rush to ensure that subsidies , which should not be being paid for insurance which should not be being forced upon anyone , be maintained at all ? Why is it always the responsibility of congress to fix or at least interfere in any perceived ill or unfairness some progressive twit can imagine ?

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  30. It would take 10 minutes for congress to authorize subsidies for last year and this year while they “bridge” to somewhere else.

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