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Obama Democrats Lose Their Big Bet on Health Exchanges
Townhall.com ^ | July 25, 2014 | Michael Barone

Posted on 07/25/2014 9:07:31 AM PDT by Kaslin

Words mean what they say. That's the basis for the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Halbig v. Burwell invalidating the Internal Revenue Service regulation approving subsidies for Obamacare consumers in states with federal health insurance exchanges.

The law passed by Congress, Judge Thomas Griffith explained, provided for subsidies in states with state-created exchanges, but not in states with federal exchanges. That's factually correct, and under the Constitution, the government can't spend money not authorized by Congress.

This has not prevented Democrats from calling the decision "judicial activism," which makes as much sense as the claims that the Supreme Court decision overturning the Obamacare contraception mandate cuts off all access to contraception.

"We reach this conclusion," wrote Judge Griffith, "with reluctance." Judge Roger Ferguson, writing for the Fourth Circuit whose King v. Burwell decision upholding the IRS was announced the same day, wrote that those challenging the government "have the better of the statutory construction arguments."

One has a certain sympathy with both judges. They're being asked to overturn a regulation that has paid most of the cost for health insurance for some 4.7 million Americans. But the problem arose not from sloppy legislative draftsmanship.

Under previous court decisions, Congress can't force state governments to administer federal laws. So congressional Democrats, seeking to muscle states into creating their own health insurance exchanges, chose to provide subsidies only for those states. Those opting for the federal exchange would have to explain to voters why they weren't getting subsidies.

This attempt to muscle the states failed. In August 2011, when the IRS issued its regulation, only 10 states had created their own exchanges, and 17 states explicitly refused to do so. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius kept extending deadlines to force states to create their own exchanges.

Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration bet that they could force the states to do their will. When they lost their bet, the administration ignored the Constitution and ordered the spending of monies that Congress never authorized.

This was lawless behavior, and reckless as well. It promised to individuals acting in reliance on government regulations money that was subject to being clawed back if a court applied the statute as written.

The alternative was, to be sure, politically unpalatable. The administration could have gone back to Congress and asked it to authorize subsidies in states with federal exchanges. House Republicans, now in the majority, would have demanded other changes in the law.

So today the strongest argument for upholding the administration's reckless regulation is that people might be hurt if the law is enforced as written. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says Congress meant to give money to lots of people -- so who cares what the law actually says?

The irony here is that the Obama Democrats, in passing Obamacare in its present form, and in betting that it could pressure the states into doing their will, have discredited big government generally and have weakened the federal government's power to commandeer and control the states.

They expected Obamacare to be popular. Give people what Mitt Romney called "free stuff," and they'll be grateful.

It hasn't turned out that way. Most Americans have bridled at Obamacare's centralized command-and-control approach and have instinctively preferred more market-based or locally regulated alternatives.

The fiasco of the healthcare.gov rollout and the administration's multiple suspensions of various provisions of the law have sapped confidence in big government's competence.

On the legal front, it has generally escaped notice that in its NFIB v. Sebelius decision upholding Obamacare, the Supreme Court also invalidated its Medicaid provisions -- and by a 7-2 vote that is unlikely to be overturned by one or two new Democratic-appointed justices.

Obamacare provided that states must accept new Medicaid provisions requiring higher spending or lose all their federal Medicaid money altogether. Not valid, said the justices. Congress can't take command of state governments by threatening to cut them off if they don't spend more.

Few legal experts thought this challenge to the statute would prevail. But it did, and it provides a basis for discouraging or challenging any future massive expansion of federal programs that require, as most do, matching spending by the states.

The Obama Democrats have succeeded in expanding government, temporarily. But they've also discredited it and provided a basis for limiting it in the future.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: 0bamacare; barack0bama; halbig; obamacare; resident0bama; unaffordablecareact

1 posted on 07/25/2014 9:07:32 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

2 posted on 07/25/2014 9:11:01 AM PDT by kiryandil (making the jests that some FReepers aren't allowed to...)
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To: Kaslin

Well, by now it has sunk in that this thing isn’t free.

I wonder if it would cost less just to put everyone who is on the dole on a mini-med plan. If I was inclined to bet I would bet yes.

For the few who sought to profiteer off of this at the enforced expense of the rest, shame on them.


3 posted on 07/25/2014 9:11:51 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: Kaslin
Under previous court decisions, Congress can't force state governments to administer federal laws. So congressional Democrats, seeking to muscle states into creating their own health insurance exchanges, chose to provide subsidies only for those states. Those opting for the federal exchange would have to explain to voters why they weren't getting subsidies.

Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration bet that they could force the states to do their will. When they lost their bet, the administration ignored the Constitution and ordered the spending of monies that Congress never authorized.

Brilliant explanation.  I'm going to use this.

 

4 posted on 07/25/2014 9:12:30 AM PDT by MNnice
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To: Kaslin
Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration bet that they could force the states to do their will. When they lost their bet, the administration ignored the Constitution and ordered the spending of monies that Congress never authorized.

They had nothing to lose. They will never be held to account by DC Republicans.

5 posted on 07/25/2014 9:18:15 AM PDT by Arm_Bears (Rope. Tree. Politician. Some assembly required.)
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To: Kaslin

The debate over the details of Obamacare doesn’t cut to the heart of the problem, the mandate that forced people to buy higher priced health insurance to begin with and cancelled their existing lower cost insurance.

Mitt Romney said there were ‘freeloaders” out there when he discussed ‘health care reform’ and wheeling and dealing to pump more money into insurance companies and hospitals (what the lobbyists wanted all along) was successful and we got the mandate forcing people to buy higher priced health insurance.

Obama dumped in this progressive bell and whistle of subsidies for the new high priced insurance and he lost in a court ruling on this matter, that will move onto to final adjudication one way or the other.....

REPEAL OBAMACARE 100 PERCENT WITH NO SUBSITUTES AND NO MANDATE FOR FORCE PEOPLE TO BUY HEALTH INSURANCE.....


6 posted on 07/25/2014 9:20:11 AM PDT by Nextrush (OBAMACARE IS A BAILOUT FOR THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY)
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To: MNnice

Obama must be made to pay. He committed fraud in his salesmanship of Democratcare, and then stole our tax dollars without authorization, and is committed to keep on doing so, after wagging his finger at US telling us we had to pay our fair share. IMPEACH THE BASTARD or the country is DEAD!


7 posted on 07/25/2014 9:20:31 AM PDT by LALALAW (one of the asses who's sick of our "ruling" classes)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

I don’t think it has sunk in that it’s not free.

I’m betting if I asked my libinlaw this evening, she’d still insist that Obamacare means “affordable” (ie, free for some) healthcare for all.


8 posted on 07/25/2014 9:21:59 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: Kaslin

I have always wondered why have separate state and federal exchanges. They all have to follow the federal rules. Why spend all the extra money on a separate exchange?

This explains it. You had to set up the state exchange to get the tax benefits.


9 posted on 07/25/2014 9:25:11 AM PDT by joshua c (Please dont feed the liberals)
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To: Arm_Bears

“They had nothing to lose. They will never be held to account by DC Republicans.”

My thoughts exactly. And most Americans don’t care about the constitution, they just want stuff.


10 posted on 07/25/2014 9:26:48 AM PDT by brownsfan (Behold, the power of government cheese.)
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To: Kaslin
The Feds simply set themselves up to collect the penalties via the IRS...hence the additional arm twisters/leg breakers in the cost.

Wait till all those Federal dupes find out that subsidies do not apply.

They will all be designated as not signing up and have to pay the penalty. Of course, most of these folks aren't working so can't pay anyways and we're stuck with a broke insurance system.

But there's always money to kill the babies.

11 posted on 07/25/2014 9:28:20 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Kaslin
Words mean what they say. That's the basis for the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Halbig v. Burwell invalidating the Internal Revenue Service regulation approving subsidies for Obamacare consumers in states with federal health insurance exchanges.

The law passed by Congress, Judge Thomas Griffith explained, provided for subsidies in states with state-created exchanges, but not in states with federal exchanges. That's factually correct, and under the Constitution, the government can't spend money not authorized by Congress.

PFL

12 posted on 07/25/2014 9:30:46 AM PDT by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: Arm_Bears
They will never be held to account by DC Republicans.

So sue me.....Obama

13 posted on 07/25/2014 9:32:19 AM PDT by showme_the_Glory ((ILLEGAL: prohibited by law. ALIEN: Owing political allegiance to another country or government))
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To: HiTech RedNeck

I work in healthcare, and it undoubtedly would have been cheaper and more effective to pay money to insure uninsured than this monstrous abortion of big government.


14 posted on 07/25/2014 9:36:20 AM PDT by rlmorel ("A nation, despicable by it"s weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral." A. Hamilton)
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To: joshua c

yes the obama gang tried to get cute and force Republican states to implement exchanges by limiting subsidies to state exchanges only.

when those states mostly said no, the obama gang then built a federal exchange and tried to skate by a landmine they put in their own legisation.

i believe in some parts of the US this is describled as “being bit by your own dog”

as a canadian, looking at what works and what doesn’t in both the USA, canada, and uk, my suggestion is to take people with expensive pre-existing conditions and put them on medicare and charge them a % of income as a premium, they are not insurable and trying to force coverage is distorting the whole system; let private charities fund low income people who can’t afford coverage and don’t qualify for medicaid; for the rest, get the gov’t out of it and let the private market reduce costs !


15 posted on 07/25/2014 9:38:22 AM PDT by Reverend Wright (liberal logic: Sarah Palin is not a real woman but "Chelsea" Manning is...)
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To: Kaslin

I’ve felt this way about Obamacare since it was passed, and especially since the roberts decision:

Be careful what you ask for.

Until Obamacare, the biggest failure in US history for me was prohibition. Obamacare tops it significantly. And it crossed a “red” line for me. It is the first time I’ve refused to comply with the law as I see it as immoral and unconstitutional. I cancelled my health insurance on January first and will never have health insurance until Obamacare is appealed. I will also never pay a penalty. I always end up owing the FedGov at tax time and will ensure that carries forward into the future.


16 posted on 07/25/2014 9:39:44 AM PDT by cuban leaf (The US will not survive the obama presidency. The world may not either.)
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To: MrB

As they try to use it, it sinks in.


17 posted on 07/25/2014 9:42:03 AM PDT by cuban leaf (The US will not survive the obama presidency. The world may not either.)
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To: MNnice

Yes, it is a brilliant piece by Barone. He’s fallen off in his election predictions in recent years likely because his data gathering is antiquated. But he’s always had the talented deep insight at describing and explaining complex law and politics in succinct summaries that readers can grab onto.


18 posted on 07/25/2014 9:45:56 AM PDT by Hostage (ARTICLE V)
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To: MNnice

Also was a way to shift the pea around under the shells so the CBO scoring would come out the way they wanted it to.


19 posted on 07/25/2014 9:46:20 AM PDT by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: kiryandil

Big Pharma, AARP,Humana, BCBS -and United Health insurance giants, and hospital chains who saw ObamaCare as their chance to profiteer at the taxpayers’ expense deserve to go broke, as this monstrosity sinks in the mire of Democrats’ lust for power over the people.


20 posted on 07/25/2014 9:50:39 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: rlmorel

Buying a policy for every uninsured person would have cost us a fraction of what Obamacare has already cost.


21 posted on 07/25/2014 9:53:29 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: MNnice
Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration bet that they could force the states to do their will. When they lost their bet, the administration ignored the Constitution and ordered the spending of monies that Congress never authorized.

For some reason, this reminds me of the scene in Cool Hand Luke where Luke holds up the tree-branch from which the snapping turtle hangs by his clenched jaws, and yells to the guard "look Boss, dead as hell and won't let go."

22 posted on 07/25/2014 10:03:23 AM PDT by Steely Tom (How do you feel about robbing Peter's robot?)
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To: Kaslin

They haven’t lost anything yet. The Administration will request a rehearing by the full Appeals Court and they’ll overturn the three-judge ruling.


23 posted on 07/25/2014 10:04:19 AM PDT by DoodleDawg
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To: All
 photo OCare_Flatlined_2010.jpg

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24 posted on 07/25/2014 10:10:28 AM PDT by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: DoodleDawg

I was gonna say....show me. I’ll believe its dead when I see it.


25 posted on 07/25/2014 10:13:06 AM PDT by sheana
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To: Buckeye McFrog

I have always assumed that providing health care was never the goal...the goal was the destruction of private health care and private insurance.

That is why, even though we conservatives may think that some of the liberal statists who pushed for this disaster are crying (and some are, the dimmer ones) but the ones who really understand the true goals are secretly rejoicing.

They WANT this to be a major disaster, and when it is done, hospitals will be broke, private insurance will have left the sector, and people will clamor for the government to step in and fix it.

THAT is their goal.


26 posted on 07/25/2014 12:11:35 PM PDT by rlmorel ("A nation, despicable by it"s weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral." A. Hamilton)
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To: Kaslin
Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration bet that they could force the states to do their will. When they lost their bet, the administration ignored the Constitution and ordered the spending of monies that Congress never authorized.

Not just that the law means only what they need it to mean at the moment, but also that it applies to only whomever they need it to apply to at the moment. That's what SCOTUS would be codifying by overturning this and letting Congressional Democrats get away with this federal subsidy deceit.

They would be endorsing the practice of writing a bill one way out of necessity to get a compromise passed, knowing that Democrats can deny it later and get SCOTUS to write for them what they really wanted all along in the end.

-PJ

27 posted on 07/25/2014 12:30:46 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: MrB

The appropriate question is, does the “common sacrifice” for it manage to buy its money’s worth? And the answer is yes, if that means its money’s worth of meddlesome government drones. As for actual health care, that is another question.


28 posted on 07/25/2014 3:14:08 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: rlmorel

It’s satanic at bottom. And it STILL will be unfair, by the very measures of fairness that were proffered at the outset of this debacle.


29 posted on 07/25/2014 3:16:47 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: joshua c
This explains it. You had to set up the state exchange to get the tax benefits.

Also, they needed the states to enforce the individual mandate, employer penalties, & changes to health care plans... It was unconstitutional w/o forcing the states to run state exchanges. Forbes, has a really good article:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelcannon/2014/07/25/obamacare-architect-jonathan-gruber-if-youre-a-state-and-you-dont-set-up-an-exchange-that-means-your-citizens-dont-get-their-tax-credits/

30 posted on 07/25/2014 5:11:16 PM PDT by babbabooey (All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing...)
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To: brownsfan

The Constitution or FreeStuff™ ?


31 posted on 07/25/2014 8:06:01 PM PDT by Jane Long ("And when thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek")
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To: txrefugee

hold on there. blues dont make money and insurance at this point pays the bills. who is building brand new digs. not the insurance companies.


32 posted on 07/25/2014 8:45:20 PM PDT by kvanbrunt2 (civil law: commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong Blackstone Commentaries I p44)
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To: DoodleDawg
They haven’t lost anything yet. The Administration will request a rehearing by the full Appeals Court and they’ll overturn the three-judge ruling.
. . . and that will drag the process out another year - according to plan.

But as the WSJ pointed out a couple of days ago, the fact that Obama won in a different venue (notwithstanding that judge’s finding that:

Judge Roger Ferguson, writing for the Fourth Circuit whose King v. Burwell decision upholding the IRS was announced the same day, wrote that those challenging the government "have the better of the statutory construction arguments.”)
means that it is not Burwell (i.e., the administration) but King who is in a position to appeal that ruling - and that King need not ask for an en blanc hearing, but could elect to appeal directly to SCOTUS.

33 posted on 07/26/2014 1:53:26 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion ("Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: Kaslin

I’m NOT a lawyer. But I believe the Supreme Court cannot/will not consider evidence that was not introduced at the appeals level.

Thus somehow, this needs to get into consideration. Not sure how...


34 posted on 07/26/2014 1:56:30 PM PDT by Drango (A liberal's compassion is limited only by the size of someone else's wallet.)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
... but King who is in a position to appeal that ruling - and that King need not ask for an en blanc hearing, but could elect to appeal directly to SCOTUS.

He can but I thought I read somewhere where King is already planning his Supreme Court appeal. However there is no guarantee that the Court will agree to hear it.

35 posted on 07/26/2014 2:25:06 PM PDT by DoodleDawg
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To: DoodleDawg
No guarantee, agreed. But it would be tantamount to SCOTUS agreeing with the idea that a judge can make policy contrary to black-letter law.

Even the judge who ruled for the government in King admitted that he wasn’t going by what the law said, and was intended to say.

36 posted on 07/26/2014 5:08:19 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion ("Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: cuban leaf

“It is the first time I’ve refused to comply with the law as I see it as immoral and unconstitutional. I cancelled my health insurance on January first and will never have health insurance until Obamacare is appealed. I will also never pay a penalty. I always end up owing the FedGov at tax time and will ensure that carries forward into the future.”

Wow, you ARE a rebel. I love it!


37 posted on 07/27/2014 12:30:47 PM PDT by yorkiemom ( "...if fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism." - Ronald Reagan)
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