Rand Paul: Supreme Court 'Missed Opportunity' to Let Congress Fix Obamacare

John Roberts to the rescue... of Obamacare.


Rand Paul
Gage Skidmore

Sen. Rand Paul lamented the Supreme Court's decision in King v. Burwell earlier today, telling Wolf Blitzer that the justices "missed an opportunity" to permit Congress to rework the parts of the Affordable Care Act that don't stand up to scrutiny:

As a physician, the Supreme Court missed an opportunity here. Obamacare is making all insurance more expensive. I think we made a mistake. If they would have ruled and adhered to the literal nature of the law, maybe Congress would have had a chance to take up Obamacare again and try to make it less bad or fix the parts of it that are causing so many problems in our society. I really think Obamacare is making all insurance more expensive and taking away choice. So I am disappointed that we've missed an opportunity here.

I would still like to reform it and change it and give patients back more choices on whether they can choose which doctor or which insurance plan, legalize competition and legalize inexpensive insurance again, but it makes it hard because we don't have the leverage. If we had the leverage where the president had to revisit this because part of it had been struck down, then we would have the leverage to force the president to revisit it. We have majorities and so we can bring it up and we can pass legislation, but getting the president to actually do something about it and actually have the leverage to get him to perhaps sign something that would change Obamacare, I think we've lost that leverage.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, a Bush appointee, has gone to tremendous lengths to protect Obamacare as written. As Reason's Peter Suderman wrote:

Roberts has not merely tweaked the law; he has rewritten it to mean the opposite of what it clearly means. Why include the phrase "established by a State under Section 1311″—the section dealing with state-based exchanges—except to limit the subsidies to those particular exchanges? Roberts' opinion reconceptualizes this limiting language as inclusive. …

What Roberts has saved is not the law so much as the Obama administration's dubious, textually unsupported interpretation and implementation of Obamacare. This is not judicial restraint. It is judicial hubris.

And while it would be overstatement to say that this damages the legitimacy of the Court, it certainly reflects on the legacy and status of the law.

More from Reason on the ruling here, here, and here.

Hat tip: Al Weaver / The Daily Caller