Image from Business Week
The Supreme Court of the United States made a surprise move on Friday and announced that it was taking up a case involving ObamaCare that is still winding its way through the lower courts.
In King vs. Burwell, the plaintiffs argue that because the actual Affordable Care Act language states that federal subsidies for lower income people who purchased health insurance through the exchanges must do so through those set up by the individual states, the subsidies awarded to those who got their insurance through the federal exchanges are illegal. Â 36 states opted to not set up their own exchanges.
In the lower courts, the 4th Circuit Court sided with the government, and the D.C. Circuit sided with the plaintiffs. Â The case is currently pending before the full D.C. Circuit Court where the Justice Department is appealing the decision. Â For the Supreme Court to take this up before its finished making its way through the system is highly unusual. Â What the vote was among the justices to decide to take up the case, would be most interesting to note.
Just the fact that the high court decided to take the caseâ€”and the timing of that decisionâ€”is a bad sign for the administration. The Justice Department had asked the Court to hold off onKing while a similar case works its way through the appeals process. If the Court had gone along with that request, the administration’s hand almost certainly would have been stronger once the issue finally reached the Supreme Court.
What has leftist sites like National Journal in a tizzy about the case, though, is that in order for ObamaCare to work as a system, healthy people have to buy insurance at ridiculous rates to pay for the few who really need all the freebies insurance is supposed to cover. Â (It doesn’t, but that’s another story.) Â Without the subsidies that the King targets and the Justice Department claims was just an oversight in the language, poorer people could never afford to purchase health insurance on the exchanges. Â (They can’t anyway, but that’s neither here nor there.) Â This is one of those things where passing a law to find out what was in it came back to bite the authors in the backside.
In effect, if the Supreme Court strikes down the subsidies, there’s not enough money in the system to make it work, which would contribute to it self-destructing under its own weight. Â What is interesting is that the SCOTUS takes this case days after a gigantic Republican victory in a midterm election and days before this video surfaced from one of the architects of Â the law who said this about its construction:
ARVE Error: id and provider shortcodes attributes are mandatory for old shortcodes. It is recommended to switch to new shortcodes that need only url
The law couldn’t be written transparently or it wouldn’t pass? Â The idea was to keep CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, from classifying the individual mandate as taxes – which the Supreme Court declared it to be – Â and this man, Jonathan Gruber, thinks this is acceptable? Â And, the American people are stupid all at the same time. Â The entire idea, then, was to make what is illegal in the United States legal.
Now, the Supreme Court is going to take another whack at the pinata that is ObamaCare. Â Time will tell if this shot is a swing and miss or if they can get destroy what is holding it together.