New Bullshit Anti-Obamacare Court Decision

When I first saw this headline I felt genuine panic — Court Rules That Subsidies in Obamacare’s Federal Exchange are Illegal, Dealing Huge Legal Blow to Health Law. That’s the headline at Hit & Run, where the Koch-funded libertarians probably are doing cartwheels around their desks. You can look it up if you want to read it.

Here’s the story on Talking Points Memo. The two Republican judges on the three-panel D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the state insurance exchanges run by the federal government may not offer subsidies, or the tax credits offered by the IRS. The one Democrat called this bullshit.

“This case is about Appellants’ not-so-veiled attempt to gut the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” Edwards wrote in his dissenting opinion. He called said the majority’s reading of the statute amounts to “a poison pill to the insurance markets in the States that did not elect to create their own Exchanges. This surely is not what Congress intended.”

My initial panic was mollified somewhat by the realization this decision does not affect the New York exchange, which is run (somewhat clumsily) by New York. Still, it’s a hell of a mess, and it’s not clear to me if this will go into effect immediately. If so, a lot of people are about to lose the insurance they’ve had for less than a year.

The White House is going to ask the full panel to rule on the decision, which could possibly reverse it.

15 thoughts on “New Bullshit Anti-Obamacare Court Decision

  1. “If so, a lot of people are about to lose the insurance they’ve had for less than a year. ”

    This is good for John McCain and Mitt Romney!

    Also, too – I can hardly wait for Politico’s spin on how this is great for the Republicans in the midterms.

  2. This sounds like a fucking typo to me. Your right most certainly not what Congress intended, our current congress different story. Ted (Canadian anchor baby) Cruz has said: “This decision restores power to Congress and to the people and if properly enforced, should shield citizens from Obamacare’s insidious penalties, mandates, and subsidies”. Yes citizens need to be shielded from subsidies, hey Ted while your at why don’t we shield the oil and gas industries, defense contractors, big pharma, big Corn, etc from subsidies as well? Surely they are sick and tired of this Tyrannical Government showering them with those burdensome subsidies. The bad thing about this is that it gives the Roberts Court another shot at chipping away at this law, gee I wonder how they will vote?

  3. Another example of the Republican Healthcare principle:
    1. Don’t get sick.
    2. If you do get sick, please die quickly.

  4. Someone please tell me the electoral payoff for the GOP in a decision that boils down to “If you live in a state with a Democratic governor, you are OK; if you live in a state with a Republican governor, you are shafted.” That is more or less the breakdown of states that did and did not establish their own exchanges.

    • Ed — I seriously hope that if anyone has cancer treatments or a life-saving surgery cancelled because they couldn’t pay the unsubsidized premiums that the stupid Dems get off their butts and PUT IT ON THE TEEVEE.

  5. “If you live in a state with a Democratic governor, you are OK; if you live in a state with a Republican governor, you are shafted.”

    That’s too much splainin for the average tea-tard, and actually it’s not quite that simple, some states with democratic govs set up hybrid systems where they expanded medicaid but let the feds do the exchange (Illinois), those folks are gonna get hit with a hefty increase if the Pro-Patriots have their way!

  6. I studied the text of the law in question a month or so ago, and saw it coming. It’s not so much a typo, as a detail the law’s drafters overlooked. They never anticipated the degree to which many of the states would not setup their own exchanges, and I suspect this unconsciously guided their review process, so that they would not catch this bug. In such a large, complicated, Rube Goldberg type of contraption, it’s not surprising that there are minor flaws the designers overlooked, and that are now coming back to bite them.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes all the way up to the Supreme Court; and it will be interesting to see how they vote: with the literal reading of the law, or with the intent behind it. Hobby Lobby aside, I’ve been surprised at how accomodating the Roberts court has been to the ACA.

    For those of us who live in states with their own exchanges – if this repeal is successful, I wonder what this will do to our premiums. I’m sure we’ll be reading about insurance company reactions to this in the upcoming days.

    @uncledad – you don’t need me to tell you this, but Ted Cruz is a d$ck. Someone said he’s Sarah Palin with a Harvard degree, but his ego, sense of entitlement, his penchant for outright lying and distortion of the truth is tens of times worse.

  7. If subsidies are available to citizens in some states but not in other states, that would seem to raise some Fourteenth Amendment issues; your access to health insurance would depend on where you lived, and the equal protection clause would be part of the argument, or so it would seem. Anyone know if this is at least partly true?

  8. I have high regard for Ed Kilgore @ Washington Monthly. On this subject this afternoon he wrote…

    “If you need further assurance of the very tentative nature of the gigantic defeat supposedly suffered by the Obama administration via the split decision of a three-judge panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals invalidating Obamacare insurance purchasing subsidies in states without their own exchanges, it arrived within hours, as a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond unanimously reached the opposite conclusion in a case revolving around the same issues.”

  9. The Fourth Circuit court ruled in favor, unanimously. This sets up the show down with the supremes, and I would not bet in favor of them ruling as anything other than partisan hacks.

  10. Doug,
    No, four of them didn’t – ROBERT’S did.
    But he also put in that poison pill about letting the states decide if they’ll accept Medicaid money, setting-up the probable re-look at PPACA next year, or the year after.

  11. Where are the members of congress shouting “activist judges”? You know many of us on the left think our politicians need to move farther to the left, if the one’s we have would just speak the fuck up instead of sitting on their hands maybe things would move their way? They don’t need to move to the left the need to actively defend the center!

  12. Interesting thing here. I need to replace my COBRA coverage at the end of the month. I can’t. Why? I have insurance.

    On the 1st, I can try to buy insurance on the exchange (in WA), but not before then.

    And I want to make this clear, I blame the party responsible for pushing this flawed law on us.

    The Republicans.

    This is a dumbass bug fix that’s needed for the law, and it should be a routine, voice vote fix. “Yeah, we hate the law, we hate you (expletives) for passing it, we want to crush and humiliate you… but not like *this*. Here’s your damn bug-fix, remember this if you *ever* call us the party of ‘no,’ again, you (expletive).”

    I’d like to think if I was a politics beat reporter, this would be one of the biggest things I’d dig into, and *fornicate* the “both sides do it” narrative – if there aren’t basic bug fixes passing routinely, I’d damn well research similar failures in the past.

    And I’d find my performance just wasn’t up to snuff, maybe I should try to Society beat… for another news organization.

  13. I’m sure we can count on David Gregory to provide a thoughtful examination of this on MTP!!! Will conflicting court opinions cause his head to revolve 720 degrees?

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