Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Federal Appeals Court Deals Major Blow To ObamaCare; Most Subsidies Illegal
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today on a landmark case, Halbig vs. Burwell that would deal a huge blow to ObamaCare
The three judge panel, based on what they called a close reading of the law ruled that most of the ObamaCare subsidies are illegal.The 2-1 ruling said the subsidies can only be given to people who bought insurance in an Obamacare exchange run by an individual state or the District of Columbia—and not on the federally run exchange HealthCare.gov.
"Section 36B plainly makes subsidies available in the Exchanges established by states," wrote Senior Circuit Judge Raymond Randolph in his majority opinion, where he was joined by Judge Thomas Griffith.
"We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance. At least until states that wish to can set up their own Exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly."
Both Judge Randolph and Judge Griffith were appointed by President George HW Bush and President George W. Bush, respectively. The dissenting jurist,Judge Harry Edwards is a Carter appointee and an African-American, and his dissent was mainly based on a political stance, that this was "an attempt to gut ObamaCare."
You may draw your own conclusions.
The reality is that, as the law was written, people who enroll in Obamacare through the federal exchange aren’t eligible for subsidies. The text of the law only provides subsidies for people enrolled through “an Exchange established by the State,” according to the text of the Affordable Care Act. Only 16 states decided to establish the exchanges.
In Halbig vs. Burwell, the fed's argument was that the IRS issued a regulation expanding the number of enrollees who qualify for the subsidies. The plaintiff's argument was that the IRS does not have the authority to make that change. And if we're going by the law, it doesn't, because that amounts to legislation.
The IRS has no independent power to tax, borrow and spend. Only Congress can do that.It can only deviate from law in the case of obvious typos or ambiguous language, or in the case of something simply not making sense. Unfortunately for proponents of ObamaCare, the language in Section 36B is explicit, has a clear meaning and cannot be said to contain any typos, since the exact same language was written into numerous drafts of the law, including the final one sent to Se4nate Majority leader Harry Reid before the vote. The plaintiffs were able to clearly establish that, which is why the panel ruled as it did.
I guess the Dems really should have read the bill to see what was in it before jamming it down our throats.
The effect of this ruling, if it's upheld, would be to substantially cripple ObamaCare,perhaps terminally. ObamaCare, thus far, has mainly been attractive to those people who are interested in free stuff someone else is paying for. ObamaCare as free stuff mainly relies on the subsidies, and without them, it goes under without a massive federal bailout. Twenty seven states decided not to set up ObamaCare exchanges, and another nine states opted out.
A whopping 87% of ObamaCare's 'customers' are getting the subsidies. More than half of them signed up via the federal exchange. If the subsidies aren't available for them, they would be able to opt out, circumventing the law that requires them to get insurance or pay a tax penalty. The same applies to a great many other people the Obama Administration was relying on to pay for those subsidies through the IRS penalties.
And if ObamaCare goes down? Well, we can just write off the literally billions of dollars it cost to put together the dysfunctional website, the costs of the Justice Department defending this legal abortion, the costs to market it and try to sell it, the lost productivity and man hours in both the private and public sector, and any other monies already paid out. All because this president and his party were so arrogant, so intent on getting their own way, so anxious to get this through no matter what the American people wanted that they were willing to ignore the law and circumvent the normal reconciliation process with the senate that is supposed to iron out errors like this because of Scott Brown's surprise election in Massachusetts.
There is not one member of congress who went along with this costly charade worthy of re-election. They knew how wrong it was, but they did it anyway.
Don't pop the champagne corks yet. The Obama Department of Justice is sure to appeal this, and the Supremes can either abrogate the ruling, agree with the lower court or simply refuse to hear the case, so that the lower court's ruling stands. Or they can appeal to the DC Court for an en banc hearing, requiring the full court to hear an appeal. Given some of the legal detritus the Regime has been able to pack the DC Circuit with, they might just prevail, in which case it is the plaintiffs whom would have to appeal to the Supreme Court.