Supreme Court saves Obamacare

25 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A look at what the Supreme Court King vs. Burwell ruling on health care means.

WASHINGTON – A divided U.S. More than a million Floridians stood to lose their health insurance if six high court justices hadn’t wisely voted to uphold federal subsidies for Americans who buy coverage through the federally run exchange.President Barack Obama is savouring critical victories on two fronts as the Supreme Court turned away a potentially crippling challenge to his signature healthcare reforms and he prepared to sign a new law giving him special powers to pursue a new free trade pact with countries in Asia and the Pacific.The latest Supreme Court decision upholding President Obama’s health care law leaves the 2016 presidential candidates in familiar positions — Republicans criticizing the law, Democrats praising it, and both sides highlighting the massive impact of high court rulings.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and his conservative colleagues may have been overruled in Thursday’s decision upholding ObamaCare subsidies, but they didn’t go down without a fight. The White House had been bracing for catastrophe if the nine justices on the top court had tipped the other way and agreed with plaintiffs in the case that tax subsidies paid to millions of lower-income Americans under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, to buy insurance coverage were illegal. The GOP presidential candidates continue to call for repeal of Obamacare, while Democrats demanded specifics as to how they propose to do that without costing millions access to health insurance. “I am disappointed by today’s Supreme Court ruling in the King v. Here’s a look at who is getting subsidies in Tennessee and what Tennesseans are saying about the ruling: The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 155,753 Tennesseans were receiving subsidies as of March 31, 2015. Burwell case, but this decision is not the end of the fight against Obamacare,” said former Florida governor Jeb Bush, adding that “this fatally-flawed law imposes job-killing mandates, causes spending in Washington to skyrocket by $1.7 trillion, raises taxes by $1 trillion and drives up health care costs.” Wisconsin Gov.

The case itself centered on language in the original law that technically limited subsidies to people buying insurance in exchanges set up by the states. The Obama administration argued that, if the court found the text ambiguous, it should defer to the IRS and allow its rule to go forward. (This is the so-called Chevron deference.) Under that logic, a future administration could revoke the subsidies in states with no exchange just as easily as the Obama administration made the subsidies universally available. Scott Walker, who is expected to announce his presidential bid next month, said the court’s decision “means Republicans in the House and Senate must redouble their efforts to repeal and replace this destructive and costly law.” Walker said “workers have lost hours because of new costs faced by their employers, people have lost their insurance and cannot afford the dramatic premium and fee increases.” The justices “have once again erred in trying to correct the mistakes made by President Obama and Congress in forcing Obamacare on the American people,” said Sen.

And more than 90 percent of them — at least 1.3 million — receive subsidies in the form of federal tax credits, reducing the cost of the average policy from $384 to $88 a month, according to federal figures. Noting the serial attempts of foes to extinguish or fatally wound it in the courts and the roughly 50 times that Republicans in Congress had tried to repeal it, he went on: “For all the repeal attempts, this law is now helping millions of Americans.” “This is a good day for America,” the president said. Opponents had seized upon four words in the voluminous law — “established by the state” — and built an argument that when taken as the letter of the law it meant that Congress had meant for only residents in states which created exchanges should be eligible for tax subsidies.

After the five-year passage of Obamacare through Congress this was the day when “we finally declared that healthcare is not a privilege for a few but a right for all,” he said. Scalia essentially made two major points: he accused the court of playing favorites by letting politics get in the way, and claimed the majority’s opinion contained “somersaults of statutory interpretation.” The conservative justice attacked the logic behind the ruling as “interpretive jiggery-pokery” and said the result shows “words no longer have meaning.” He wrote: “The Court forgets that ours is a government of laws and not of men. Scalia suggested the court is now in a position of protecting the law, writing: “Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. Without the authority, which means the US Congress has the right to reject or approve new trade deals but not amend then, his entire free trade agenda would have been upended. That threat is now gone, leaving the GOP free to continue to criticize the law as many party members have done since Obama signed it into law in 2010.

If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter,” he wrote. “Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid.” What might have been an ambiguous portion of the text—and an opportunity for a future president to wreck the law—has now been made unambiguous by the court.

Today’s action underscores why it is now more important than ever to ensure we elect a President who will repeal Obamacare and enact real healthcare reforms.” He was joined by Eighth District U.S. The agreement’s fate and the free trade debate in general, which galvanises opponents on the left and in particular the union movement, is sure to reverberate through next year’s presidential race.

Whether it’s Democrats protesting the court’s campaign finance rulings, or Republicans criticizing rulings on abortion (or health care), court-bashing has always been a popular sport for presidential candidates. It does not have to be interpreted literally, as meaning that no subsidies are available to people in states that have not set up their own exchanges. Anyway, we “must do our best, bearing in mind the fundamental canon of statutory construction that the words of a statute must be read in their context and with a view to their place in the overall statutory scheme.” Utility Air Regulatory Group, 573 U.

While Thursday’s decision is good news for the 1.3 million Floridians receiving federal help to afford insurance, another 800,000 still make too little to receive subsidies but too much to qualify for Medicaid. Such a ruling, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said earlier in the week, had the potential to throw the nation’s health care system into “utter chaos.” Instead, the administration and its Democratic allies in Congress won a resounding reprieve from the ongoing Republican onslaught. Here, the statutory scheme compels us to reject petitioners’ interpretation because it would destabilize the individual insurance market in any State with a Federal Exchange, and likely create the very “death spirals” that Congress designed the Act to avoid. Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee plan, which would have extended coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans, was rejected earlier this year by the General Assembly.

If they had won, some Republican leaders – wary of a political backlash – supported a temporary extension of subsidies, perhaps until past the 2016 elections. They should finish the job and provide protection for all Tennesseans by passing Insure Tennessee.” House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh issued a statement saying he hopes the governor and speakers call legislators back to Nashville immediately to work on Insure Tennessee. “I’m disappointed in the sense that I really did think this was an opportunity to fix some things in the law that were broken,” said Gov. But he added, “I am pleased for those folks who have insurance subsidies now and for the insurance companies that have a more predictable environment to operate in.” That vow also has been a mainstay of the 2016 GOP presidential nominating contest, particularly for Cruz, who mounted a 21-hour filibuster-like speech against the law in 2013. Id., at 842–843. … “In extraordinary cases, however, there may be reason to hesitate before concluding that Congress has intended such an implicit delegation.” Ibid.

The tax credits are among the Act’s key reforms, involving billions of dollars in spending each year and affecting the price of health insurance for millions of people. Justice Scalia argues that it is not clear that the provision was not intended to deny subsidies as a way to compel states to set up insurance exchanges. And wouldn’t that outcome satisfy two of the Act’s goals rather than just one: enabling the Act’s reforms to work and promoting state involvement in the Act’s implementation?

Rather than rewriting the law under the pretense of interpreting it, the Court should have left it to Congress to decide what to do about the Act’s limitation of tax credits to state Exchanges. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare in light of the court’s “somersaults of statutory interpretation” and “interpretive jiggery-pokery” to uphold the law.

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