NY Times: To Heck With What The Law Says About Subsidies
There’s an old saying about America being a Nation of Law, not of Men, which derives from John Adams’ 7th Letter To Novanglus, which came further from the ancient Greeks, in which he mentioned a “government of law, and not of men”. He goes on to mention that a Republic should be “bound by fixed laws which the people have a voice in making, and a right to defend.” Of course, in Liberal World, laws are flexible, and the written text should be ignored if it doesn’t help the narrative
A new report from the Obama administration highlights the very high stakes for a challenge to the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court. The subsidies that the court may eradicate are helping a large majority of HealthCare.gov customers pay for their health insurance.
The report is the first time that the Department of Health and Human Services has delivered some numbers on exactly who is signing up for health insurance for 2015, since the open enrollment period began in mid-November. (snip)
Over all, it found, customers who were using HealthCare.gov to pick insurance plans — some new customers, and some renewing customers — were overwhelmingly likely to qualify for federal subsidies to help them pay their premiums. On average, the report found that 87 percent of these customers were eligible for subsidies, with higher percentages in some states — up to a high of 95 percent in Mississippi.
But, see, there’s a sticky wicket, the actual text of Obamacare, namely that citizens are only eligible for subsidies in Exchanges run by states, not the federal government.
The plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case, called King v. Burwell, argue that the law does not allow the subsidies to help insurance customers in the states letting the federal government run individual insurance marketplaces. And if the court agrees, all those people would lose their subsidies, and many would be priced out of the market.
We’ve written before about the disruptions such a ruling would cause. But as more people sign up for health insurance — and more of them are relying on federal subsidies — the potential impact of the decision grows.
The situation is one made entirely by Democrats, who wrote the law and voted for the law without any regards to Republicans, none of whom voted for the bill, passed in the dead of night using parliamentary shenanigans. It was massive and few who voted in the affirmative for it actually read it or knew what was in it. And the intention of the phrasing was to entice States to run their own health insurance exchanges. If the plaintiffs win the case, the subsidies go away. Would that cause disruption? Yes. But the law must be obeyed. Words have meaning. Laws must be fixed, not flexible, otherwise they are no longer laws, but whims. Democrats could have changed it. They chose not to. Even after the loss of the House, Senate Democrats could have passed legislation changing the wording. They did not even attempt this.