President Obama has no use for the Constitution or for the separation of powers as evidenced by his overreach through executive orders. His latest antics have him trying to intimidate our Supreme Court in advance of their ruling on Obamacare. He has said “This should be an easy case. Frankly, it probably shouldn’t even have been taken up.” He went on to say “it’s safe to assume the court will do what most legal scholars expect and play it straight”. He also said “To rule the other way would be a “contorted reading of the statute” and a “twisted interpretation.” This form of intimidation by a President is disgraceful.
The issue that the Supreme Court will rule on is whether or not residents of states that have not set up their own exchanges pursuant to Obamacare are eligible for subsidies. The law could not be clearer. The health law provides subsidies only to people who get their insurance through an exchange “established by the state.” But most states have not established their own marketplaces and instead rely on the federal healthcare.gov. This language was not an oversight. It was done intentionally and is a common practice by the federal government. Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who was a key influence on the creation of the federal health law said in a speech “What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying to your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this.”
The language was in the law for two reasons. One was to create the appearance that Obamacare was a private market solution. It was also done to incentivize states to set up exchanges or conversely punish them for not setting them up. An example of this practice is the school lunch program. If states opt out they lose funding for public education. Another example was when the federal government wanted a 55 mile per hour speed limit to satisfy the left they punished states with a higher speed limit by cutting federal highway funding.
Hopefully the Supreme Court will concur with the intent of the law which will deny subsidies for those states without an exchange. And hopefully the politicians will do the right thing and repeal this monstrosity and replace it with a reasonable bi-partisan bill.