Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the latest — and perhaps, the most significant challenge to ObamaCare.
In a nutshell, the essence of the case is whether the ObamaCare law provides for insurance subsidies to folks buying health insurance through the Federal Insurance Exchange.
The argument centers on very specific – and very literal wording in the law.
To “motivate” individual states to set up their own insurance exchanges, the law law says that subsidies would only be provided to people who buy their health insurance thru state exchanges. No provision was made for subsidies thru the Federal exchange.
ObamaCare supporters are arguing that the wording was a “drafting error” and that the legislative intent was to provide subsidies regardless of whether the insurance was bought thru a state or Federal exchange. That’s somewhere between revisionist history and boldface lie.
Failing that argument, the fallback line of reasoning is that bad things will happen ObamaCare if it’s implemented the way it’s written.
That may be true, but this is a legal issue not a social issue.
Conservatives argue that the intent was clear (to bully states into creating exchanges) and that the law needs to be interpreted as written, not based on what might have been intended.
Of course, Chief Justice Roberts violated the latter point when he let the law fly when the individual mandate was challenged — coining the penalty to be a tax.
I expect the Justices to find for the plaintiffs and against ObamaCare.
Here’s where the irony creeps in …
I may just be projecting my own views, but I haven’t run into many folks who have a big problem with low-income legal citizens benefiting from the Medicaid expansion or getting subsidies thru the exchanges – whether state of Federal.
Rather, opposition that I see and hear has to do with (1) the sleazy way that the law was passed (remember the backroom deals and the “reconciliation process”?), (2) tax-payer subsidies going to folks who aren’t legal citizens (3) the mandates that force companies and individuals to do things they don’t want to do (e.g. the Sandra Fluke mandate forcing tax-payers to provider impoverished law students’ free birth control) and (4) the mere thought of incompetent government bureaucrats making life & death medical decisions on our behalf, etc.
The point: it may be something in the law that most people agree with – subsidies to poorer Americans – that brings the law tumbling down
How ironic …