Two Federal Appeals Courts Rule Two Different Ways On Obamacare Subsidies
Contradictory rulings from two Federal Courts of Appeal show that statutory construction isn't a simple thing.
Four years after it became law, and two years after the Supreme Court rejected challenges to its constitutionality, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is back in the news, and in the most unusual way thanks to a pair of rulings from two Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal that are roughly a ninety mile drive away from each other. Both cases deal with the issue of whether or not individuals who have purchased policies under the PPACA via one the Federal exchange that serves the 36 states that declined to set up a state-based exchange. As I noted when I wrote about this issue just a couple weeks ago, the Plaintiffs in both cases argued that the law as written prohibits the Internal Revenue Service from giving the tax subsidies allowed under the law to that group of people because the law only speaks of subsidies for policies purchased on exchanges established by the states. The two District Courts that had ruled on this matter, in Washington, D.C. and Virginia, had rejected this argument, but today the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of that interpretation of the law, while another panel of the Fourth Circuit ruled against it:
WASHINGTON — Two federal appeals court panels issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on whether the government could subsidize health insurance premiums for people in three dozen states that use the federal insurance exchange. The decisions are the latest in a series of legal challenges to central components of President Obama’s health care law.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, upheld the subsidies, saying that a rule issued by the Internal Revenue Service was “a permissible exercise of the agency’s discretion.”
The ruling came within hours of a 2-to-1 ruling by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which said that the government could not subsidize insurance for people in states that use the federal exchange.
That decision could cut potentially off financial assistance for more than 4.5 million people who were found eligible for subsidized insurance in the federal exchange, or marketplace.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the appeals court here said, subsidies are available only to people who obtained insurance through exchanges established by states.
The law “does not authorize the Internal Revenue Service to provide tax credits for insurance purchased on federal exchanges,” said the ruling, by a three-judge panel in Washington. The law, it said, “plainly makes subsidies available only on exchanges established by states.”
Under this ruling, many people could see their share of premiums increase sharply, making insurance unaffordable for them.
The courts’ decisions are the not the last word, however, as other courts are weighing the same issue. And the Washington panel’s ruling could be reviewed by the full appeals court here.
The majority opinion in the case filed here, Halbig v. Burwell, was written by Judge Thomas B. Griffith, with a concurring opinion by Judge A. Raymond Randolph, a senior circuit judge.
Another member of that appeals court panel, Judge Harry T. Edwards, also a senior circuit judge, filed a dissenting opinion in which he described the lawsuit as an “attempt to gut” the health care law. The majority opinion, he said, “defies the will of Congress.”
Judge Edwards said that the Obama administration’s reading of the law, considered in “the broader context of the statute as a whole,” was “permissible and reasonable, and, therefore, entitled to deference.”
A similar approach was sounded later by the Fourth Circuit panel, which said, “We find that the applicable statutory language is ambiguous and subject to multiple interpretations.” The court said it would therefore give deference to the reading of the law by the Internal Revenue Service, which issued the rule allowing payment of subsidies for people in all states, regardless of whether the state had a federal or state exchange.
The decision by the appeals court here is important because the federal exchange serves states with about two-thirds of the nation’s population. In federal and state exchanges, people may qualify for subsidies if they have incomes of up to $45,960 for individuals and up to $94,200 for a family of four.
If it stands, the ruling by the District of Columbia court could undercut enforcement of the requirement for most Americans to have insurance. Without subsidies, many more consumers would go without insurance and could be exempted from the “individual mandate” because insurance would be unaffordable for them.
The ruling also could undermine the requirement for larger employers to offer health coverage to their employees. That requirement is enforced through penalties imposed on employers if any of their employees receive subsidies to buy insurance on an exchange.
Lyle Denniston summarizes the ruling from the D.C. Circuit:
The D.C. Circuit ruled on the subsidy issue in a case pursued by a West Virginia man who does not want to obtain health insurance but would have to pay a penalty if he did not do so. West Virginia is one of the states that has declined to set up an exchange, so people in that state must go to a federally run marketplace instead.
It would appear that the D.C. Circuit ruling, if it withstands a likely challenge by the federal government, would go far toward making the exchange system far less successful in expanding coverage than the government had hoped, and intended. Congress would have the power to fix the problem, but there is almost no chance that the Republican-controlled House would go along with any measure seeking to salvage the ACA or make it more effective. In fact, the House has voted more than four dozen times to repeal the entire law.
“The government urges us, in effect, to strike . . . the phrase ‘established by the state,’ on the ground that giving force to its plain meaning renders other provisions of the Act absurd. But we find that the government has failed to make the extraordinary showing required for such judicial rewriting of an act of Congress. Nothing about the imperative to read [the exchange provision] in harmony with the rest of the ACA requires interpreting ‘established by the state’ to mean anything other than what it plainly says.”
Conceding that the stakes in that case were high, affecting millions of individuals now receiving subsidies through the federally run exchanges, the majority said that “high as those stakes are, the principle of legislative supremacy that guides us is higher still.”
The Fourth Circuit’s decision, which was unanimous among a three judge panel composed of a George W. Bush nominee and two Judges appointed by President Obama, was essentially in line with Judge Edwards dissent. In both cases, the majorities found that the portion of the law dealing with the subsidy was ambiguous, and its obvious that this is the case since the same provision that talks about the creation of Federal exchanges in the states that don’t establish their own exchanges then goes on to refer to subsidies for policies purchased on the state exchanges. However, where the D.C. Circuit ruled that the ambiguity should be construed against the law, the Fourth Circuit said that the ambiguity should be construed in favor of the idea that the I.R.S., in crafting the regulation that essentially says that the exchange established for each state by the Federal Government is the “state” exchange contemplated by the law.
Not surprisingly, the reaction to this decision in the political world depends upon which side of the divide you come down on. Those who support the Affordable Care Act are decrying the D.C. Circuit court decision and hailing the decision from the 4th Circuit, while those who are opposed to the PPACA are doing the opposite. Legally, the issues are somewhat more complicated, as the fact that two different Courts of Appeal, both of whom were fully briefed on all the relevant issues by largely the same groups of attorneys, came down so differently on the same issue demonstrates. In some ways, the statutory construction issues before the Courts here are more complicated, and less easy to resolve clearly, than the Constitutional issues that were before the Court when it deal with the major challenges to the PPACA two years ago. As a general rule, though, Courts are guided by the plain language of the statute, the presumption that the law means what it says and that statute is both consistent with itself and with other laws passed by Congress, and by the intent of Congress as expressed in the law. More specifically, in Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council, the Supreme Court set forth a two-part test to determine if an agency’s interpretation of a statute, in this case, the I.R.S. interpretation regarding what “state” exchange means, should be granted deference. If Congress has specifically spoken on the issue and its intent is clear, then that intent will control the determination of the validity of the regulation. If the intent is not clear or the language is ambiguous, then the question becomes whether or or not the agency’s construction of the statute is permissible. What “permissible” is, of course, is the basic issue in these cases, and the one that will have to be dealt with further down the road.
The implications of the fate of this provision of the law are fairly clear, and potentially devastating to the financial stability of the entire exchange system under the PPACA. A preliminary estimate after the D.C. Circuit’s decision came down was that the decision would impact at least 4.7 million of the 5.4 million people who have signed up for subsidies via the Federal Exchanges. While that seems like a low number, the actual impact could be much larger because the loss of subsidies could lead many of these people to decide to drop coverage altogether, especially younger, healthier people for whom the non-subsidized premiums would be unaffordable. If this happened, then it could lead to increased premiums across the board as the risk pool would then become more titled toward older, less healthy individuals. Even leaving possibility out of the equation, though, by one estimate, the financial impact of this ruling of upholding this ruling would amount to some $36 billion in subsidies to people in the states that are under the Federal exchange.
It’s quite unusual, I suppose, for two major rulings on an identical issue to come down within hours of each other like this, especially when they are so contradictory to each other. Outside of that coincidence, though, the most important factor about this instant Circuit split is that it pretty much guarantees that the Supreme Court will be dealing with this issue, most likely in the term that begins in October. That was likely to happen regardless of whether or not the 4th Circuit’s decision came down on the opposite side of this issue or not, to be honest, because a ruling like the one from the D.C. Circuit that essentially invalidates a major portion of a major Federal Law is something that the Justices are going to be loathe to let sit without further review. Interestingly, after the D.C. Circuit decision had been handed down, but before we got word of the Fourth Circuit opinion, the Justice Department had announced that it would seek an en banc review before the entire D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; an interesting tactical decision principally because, thanks to recent confirmations, a majority of that court now consists of Obama and Clinton nominees. The Court does not have to grant that request, but given the majority there seems to be a strong likelihood that they will. It’s unclear whether that plan will change in light of the 4th Circuit ruling, which the Plaintiffs now have the option of either asking for an en banc hearing, which seems unlikely since the majority of the 4th Circuit also consists of Obama and Clinton appointees, or appealing to the Supreme Court. In the end, eventually, this issue will be decided by the Justices, potentially as early as June of next year.
For those interested, you can read the opinion in Halbig v. Burwell, the D.C. Circuit case, and the opinion in King v. Burwell, the 4th Circuit case.
I’ve little doubt the DC court en bandc will uphold the subsidy, which is the correct decision on the merits IMO. Which will mean that there will no longer be a split in appellate decisions on the point.
The technicalities here are very nice, but they ignore a key fact: the Cato people who thought about this challenge and the judges who agree with them are
b) will never lack health insurance.
It’s not difficult at all. Chevron makes it absolutely clear that the statute is to be interpreted in its context, not on the basis of a bit of poor wording. The two DC judges — who are both hard right ideologues — chose to ignore the clear instructions of the Supreme Court in order to achieve a political aim.
It’s now law, it’s pure hackdom.
Oh, and these decisions don’t guarantee a Supreme Court hearing. If the decision of the fourth is upheld by the entire court and the decision of the tenth is struck down by that entire court — which is more than likely — it’s hard to see how the Supremes can involve themselves without making it clear that this will be a purely political decision…
@wr: I think the case is also pending in another circuit, the 8th, where there is a republican (and therefore sociopath until proven otherwise) majority.
There are two other cases pending., One is still at the District Court level in Indiana (7th Circuit) the other is still at the District Court level in Oklahoma (10th Circuit). Neither case has even reached the oral argument stage in those courts yet, so its unlikely they’ll get to their respective Courts of Appeal before one or both of these cases get to to SCOTUS.
@Doug Mataconis: Sorry. That’s what happens when one gets legal background on twitter.
This is not unusual at all, given that the bench like the nation is ideaologically split. Note that a Bush appointee sided with the two Obama appointees in the unanimous Fourth Circuit decision. That means the split is not so much Democratic-Republican but ultraconservative ideologue vs. the rest . Really to reach the DC Circuit result, you have to really interpret the statute in a perverse way.
Good question. As far I I could tell, after the bill passed, NO ONE doubted that the federal subsidies were going to be available to all. It was just assumed that the law made the subsidies available to all, and indeed, this was the assumption that the all nine Supreme Court judges decided the case on back in 2012. As one commenter said, I doubt the plaintiffs themselves believed their own case.
Oh well, if it is evidence they want, why don’t they just ask the people who wrote and voted for the law? I am sure sworn and notarized affidavits would be sufficient to be entered into evidence in the court….
What’s that you say? They don’t want evidence? They don’t want the actual truth?!??!? I am shocked, SHOCKED that people of law would treat such things so cavalierly!
A couple right wing nut-jobs ignoring all applicable case law and precedent.
It’s both what happened…and my prediction for what Scalia and Thomas will do.
I don’t think that is correct. I haven’t read the D.C. Circuit Opinion, but the introduction states its conclusion:
Even if you take the legal position that the law technically doesn’t cover subsidies for people on the Federal exchange, this lawsuit is an absolutely insane reaction.
If the Republicans were operating in good faith, they would support legislation to fix the drafting problem in the law. Maybe extract a small pound of flesh in the process for one of their pet causes in the process, but fix the drafting problem even if they are opposed to the law as a whole.
They don’t have the votes to repeal the law, no matter how many times they try, so it’s long past time to accept that, and do the actual work of governing.
But they don’t. And that is why I will never vote for another Republican, at least until the party changes dramatically.
From the Fourth Circuit’s unanimous decision:
Can someone explain to me why Republicans want to take insurance away from 4.5 million people?
@C. Clavin: Because they are in a self destruct mode.
That is the gaping hole in both the plaintiff’s argument and the DC Circuit’s holding. If indeed things were as they said, they should have found plenty of Republican legislators and lobbyists ready to swear that the language was carefully drafted to bar subsidies on the federal exchange. They apparently could not find one legislator to come in and swear to that.
The court would have been happy to integrate such evidence into their holding. Instead, they concluded that (1) neither the plaintiff or defendant made its case (2) the the wording of the state was unambiguous that the law intended to bar subsidies to those on the federal exchange, even though such a result made no sense and contravened the purpose of the statute.
Its pretty clear that those two judges wanted a particular result-wreck the ACA- and reasoned backwards. This decision will not survive the en banc hearing and may not get certiorari to the SCOTUS.
@C. Clavin: @Ron Beasley:
I’m going to be blunt here. Conservatives on the whole and Republicans in particular, have a pathological desire to kick the poors- especially the nonwhite poors. They vote that way repeatedly and you are what you repeatedly do. Ignore their talk of “limited government” and “market incentives”-that’s window dressing for IGMFU.
@The D.C. Circuit Court::
The quintessential definition of “fig leaf.”
The Senate debate made it quite clear that withholding subsidies from states that didn’t set up their own exchanges was intentional.
Legislate in haste, repent at leisure.
That’s just totally false. Claiming that you saw bigfoot is just as credible. Pathetic
Even the DC Circuit holding couldn’t find such an intent clearly expressed in the Senate debate, so I’m going to have to ask you to show your work here. From Page 41 of the holding:’
You apparently can do better than those judges, so have at it!
Gonna need a link for that one, sir.
@Dave Schuler: So you’re just gonna make stuff up now?
So, what is the end game envisioned here? I can’t figure it out. Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t see how this is going to “end Obamacare”, or even how it works out well for Republicans. It may be a federal exchange, but it’s state-based insurance. So wouldn’t the result be that the red states that refused to set up their exchanges will find themselves with a large number of people suddenly losing their insurance when they can’t pay the bill without federal subsidy, more people who did not receive a subsidy getting large rate increases they may or may not be able to afford, followed by all the attendant problems that those two things will foster? While the blue states that set up their exchanges as they were supposed to will be fine? Is there something I’m missing? Because I don’t see how that can be a win.
I’ve not had a chance to crack the 4th cir ruling yet, but my read of the DC ruling suggests they didn’t touch on the the ACA per se’.as it was *actually written*. . What was ruled on was the Internal Revenue Service attempt to rewrite the law to suit Obama and company, (without bothering to go through Congress)
That separation of powers thing jumped up and bit the self-proclaimed constitutional scholar, yet again.
If you just want to screw over poor people, it’s a big win. Sheer spite -especially against Those People- is a reason for doing things.
The something you are missing is a number of blue small states that use the federal exchange because it wouldn’t have been cost effective to set up their own. I imagine that could be easily fixed by some creative licensing for those states though. Then the red states that refused to go through that paper work on principle would have to explain to the voters in their states why they are denying tax breaks to their citizens. After all in Republican land refusing to extend a tax break is exactly like raising taxes.
They hate Obamacare, they really, really hate it. They stopped caring about logic or making coherent arguments long ago. They never cared if their arguments were truthful, but they don’t pretend their objections have any sort of internal consistency anymore.
Maybe the democrats should have found out what was in the bill before they passed it.
I’m not a huge fan of the Chevron test, myself, but I at least understand it — as you clearly do not. I know it’s against your principles to do your own homework, but really…
It would be interesting to see, should this ruling stand, what would happen in the states without exchanges. 4.7 million people are not going to want Republucans to take their insurance away. That seems like it would amount to some serious pressure. I suppose this could actually backfire on the folks who are more concerned about ideology than their constituents.
DrDave you crack me up.
So, effectively partisan politics gets to decide what is or is not legal. Why don’t we simply replace all federal judges when a new president is elected to ensure all new laws will stand and forget this whole “impartiality” B.S.?
Can someone explain to me why I am paying for their healthcare in the first place?
Well it was actually the University of Chicago that said he was a constitutional scholar.
It’s a small man who can’t give credit to people when it is due. That extra small suit fits you perfectly.
The end state is, if there is no state exchange, individuals and employers that can’t get/don’t proved affordable health insurance, can’t be penalized. In effect, the ACA would be null and void in those 36 states.
I’m glad to see you agree the case should be thrown out. The only reason to take Adler and Cannon seriously is because they are part of team GOP.
Here’s a handy reference to the background. Here is Max Baucus, the principle sponsor of the Senate bill that became the PPACA, saying essentially what I said in my comment above.
I am not arguing the policy. The question is what is the law?
@David M: If you read my whole post which started with,
you will see that I was clearly stating that Justice simply wants more Democrat appointed judges who will see things the administration’s way. But you keep living in imaginary land.
You know very well the youtube link to Baucus is only discussing whether a committee has jurisdiction over an unrelated issue. He in no way agrees with you.
Yeah, but if they succeed, I won’t be able to retire 12 years early! And I’m white, male and “rich”!!!
I think that the way to go would have been to expand Medicare to cover people who had lost their insurance, out of work, could not afford to pay, or could not get private coverage. If they wanted more coverage they could pay more. This would have eliminated that website catastrophe.
So what we have is a program that runs over a thousand pages that evidently even lawyers can’t understand. No wonder Pelosi wouldn’t read it.
Baucus signed on to an amicus brief supporting the Administration position and saying that the Congressional intent was that the subsidies would be for everyone. You might want to reconsider your position in light of that.
Because civilized nations don’t let people die in the street when it could be prevented.
Literally every other first-world nation on Earth provides universal health insurance. It may be single-payer, it may be multi-payer, it may be government run, but they provide it. Only in America does being poor mean an early death from a treatable disease. Only in America are people one layoff away from going bankrupt because of the stupid and outdated linkage of health insurance to employment.
You worry about paying for others’ health care? You already are, and you are paying twice as much as you would be if we had the basic programs offered everywhere else.
I used to feel the same way you do, but I spat out the Republican kool-aid and took an objective look at how we do it vs. how they do it everywhere else…and I realized how we do it sucks.
@Jack: “Can someone explain to me why I am paying for their healthcare in the first place?”
So that somebody will pay for your children’s health care if they need it, or the health care of somebody else you love, or maybe even your own.
I wonder what the private sector insurance companies will think about losing 4.7 million customers.
“Drafting error” is believable, although not actually a reason to actually rule in favor of the plaintiffs. “Intentional decision” is just not a credible argument worth any respect. The people willing to repeat such nonsense reveal how little character they have.
Why am I paying for your right to be an idiot and support things that the majority of Americans don’t support? Because when you get down to it – I am.
For the same reason I pay for other peoples kids education…and for wars of choice I don’t support…because that’s what society does.
If you don’t like America you should leave.
And, of course, “health care” is two words. Not that you care to write properly.
@Mikey: Yes and extending Medicare to cover these people would have been one viable alternative to the mess that the AHA is. True, some now have good, basic health coverage. The plan was to have millions of young, strong, healthy, energetic people signed up, paying for the program. That ain’t going to happen.
So the people in Washington came up with a thousand plus page tome that has enough legal mumbo jumbo to keep a convention of lawyers going for a full week. So many twists & turns, ups & downs, flips & slips, ins & outs, and slides & glides you think you are in a theme park. There should be a law that these bills must be written in everyday language. That would help, for starters. And drop the mandate. The next thing you know, there will be a law that everyone has to buy a Volt!!
@humanoid.panda: semantics, they can read at least. after all the bs you’d think our leaders would have thought enough to read their own “law” and assure it would stand up under any challenge. the only courts that will rule for this will be legislating from the bench.
Ok I’ll confess I’m not reading anybody’s links in comments here, but just judging by the comments Schuler is looking like a major hack. This is of great assistance in deciding to bother reading any of his posts in the future.
I get the hating on the poors, and the hating on Obamacare. I don’t agree, but I get it. I get that it’ll end Obamacare in those states. I don’t get how this is an election-winning strategy. Taking away some people’s health care, making health care more expensive for others, and all the economic downsides that come with that, how can you not expect a backlash?
@Grewgills: Thanks, hadn’t thought of that. I didn’t keep a close eye on what individual states were doing, other than my own. I wonder if there’s a simple fix like a state declaring a federal exchange its own for insurance purposes, or the feds gifting a state with an exchange. I would expect an even bigger backlash in those states though. How does Walker and his bunch survive in Wisconsin, if their actions cost residents healthcare and money?
Think of it as an investment. The day may come when you or someone you love has health care costs you can’t meet. When that happens, you will probably get help from the government. This assumes that the GOP does not succeed in returning us to the “screw ’em & let ’em die” days of the 19th century.
@Yolo Contendere: Because sometimes you “[have] to burn the village to save it.”
@anjin-san: I credit according to the resukts.
exactly why you so seldom get any, matter of fact.
@anjin-san: Oh, please. spa4e us the histrionics. this has never been about saving lives… it has always been about government power and the growing thereof.
@DrDaveT: clearly, youve not read the ruling or at least do not understand it.
as has been ppinted out, the constitutionality of ACA has already been tested by the SC. knowing this, they’d not have tried it again. the issue was and remains the selective implimentation of the law.
@Yolo Contendere: perhpas your questions would be easier to answer on that point were you to recognize the extreme unpopularity of the ACA.
Obamacare is only unpopular among those with no direct experience of it. In other words, brainwashed right-wingers.
Among Republicans with shiny new Obamacare policies 74% say they like it.
@bill:Tell me, does it not hurt your pride to say things that are so blindingly stupid to mark you as an idiot on a public forum? I know this is anonymous, but still, we have some form of a community here, and doesn’t it bother you that you are basically the village idiot? I mean, Jenos makes arguments that require refuting, Flrorack angers people, but you are just repeating mangled talking points that you have rearranged to sound less convincing.
Here’s a rebuttal to that claim. From Balkinization
For the internal references, see the Balkinization citation.
@bill:Tell me, does it not hurt your pride to say things that are so blindingly stupid to mark you as an idiot on a public forum? I know this is anonymous, but still, we have some form of a community here, and doesn’t it bother you that you are basically the village idiot? I mean, Jenos m@bill: akes arguments that require refuting, Flrorack angers people, but you are just repeating mangled talking points that you have rearranged to sound less convincing.
@bill: And as for the ‘substance’ of your argument: software has bugs. Techical manuals often mislead. I am writing a dissertation right now and I am spending many, many hours correcting my footnotes. I am sure Michael Raynolds will tell you that a manuscript is a horrifying thing when it first comes to an editor, and that even in the final version, things go awry. Laws are basically large blocs of text, and are prone to the same errors (in this case, the error basically comes down to improper use of the word ‘by’ that was noted by the poor aide who was proofreading the bill). Usually, what happens is that after such errors are revealed, Congress passes a technical correction. If that doesn’t happen, courts are instructed to presume legislators didn’t mean to scuttle their law by making it unworkable. In this case, however, the opposition is not shy of making its malignancy shine, and if it requires it look stupid and/or evil in the process, no problem. This applies equally to internet commenters and federal judges unfortunately.
@Tyrell: “Yes and extending Medicare to cover these people would have been one viable alternative to the mess that the AHA is”
In modern America Congress passes social reform measures only if some business makes money in the process. The Earned Income Tax Credit allows Walmart and McDonald’s to pay starvation wages. Food stamps benefit the agriculture and food supply industries. You get the idea. I give the Obama administration credit for realizing the facts of life and getting the health insurance and health care industries on board. Without their support the ACA wouldn’t have passed. We live in a corrupt society. Deal with it.
Here’s what happens in my home state. It’s shameful that people in the world’s wealthiest and most productive nation are reduced to this.
At a huge free medical clinic in southwest Virginia, misery that shouldn’t exist
@Mikey: “At midnight before the clinic opened, there were 1,204 people in line. And over the weekend, thousands more will come.”
And most of them will vote Republican. We live in a strange country.
As I’ve observed in other situations, conservatives believe their own BS. They start screaming Obamacare is evil for tactical reasons, but after screaming it for years, they believe it.
Of course there’s no such thing as The Republicans. O’Connell may be doing what he’s doing to prevent Obama’s reelection (looks like that’s finally going to work) and make himself majority leader. But after you’ve gotten enough people to donate to “stop Obamacare”, some independent groups will feel pressure to spend some small fraction of the money trying to stop Obamacare. After all, that’s how they grift a living.
From the article:
Right wing media brain washing is a thing. There is a lot of opposition to “Obamacare” in southwest Virginia, despite the fact that expanded Medicaid could really help this population. The Republican bosses must be laughing their a$$es off at how easy it is to persaud Appalachian wghites to vote against their interests by appealing to tribalism and demonizing the black man in the White House
@stonetools: Appalachian culture prizes self-sufficiency and is inherently suspicious of government (of any outsiders, really). They do not readily accept external authority. They do not appreciate what they perceive as “handouts.”
The GOP exploits these cultural factors, to the detriment of Appalachia.
@Dave Schuler: Really, I’ve been following PPACA and its ancestors since 2007 and there was a tiny bit of this in the HELP version, but ACA and PPACA descended from the Baucus Finance committee where the overarching vision was a set of state exchanges with a federal backstop to help the Delawares, Wyomings, Montanas of the world which were too small to effectively manage a big IT project.
@michael reynolds: Oh, please. More “pass it to see what’s in it”?
@DrDaveT: you may want to do some homework, yourself.
Here’s a start.http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/382550/obamas-law-professor-i-wouldnt-bet-obamacare-surviving-next-legal-challenge-joel
Heh. Yet another article debunking the Adler-Cannon case:
It’s becoming clear that Adler and Cannon’s theory is based on a lie-a deliberate misrepresentation of what Congress intended. I’m hoping the en banc decision emphasizes this in the decision.If SCOTUS takes the case, it’s not going to want to gut the PPACA on the basis of a known lie.
@stonetools: I’ve read similar stuff about SW Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. I’m not convinced that it’s racism. A lot of people in this country, especially men and especially Southerners, believe that it’s dishonorable to rely on public assistance. Social Security and Medicare are OK because people pay for them during their working lives, while Medicaid and “ObamaCare” are despised. For that reason I think a single payer system would be more popular than the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid if there were some way of getting it through Congress.
@Tyrell: “So the people in Washington came up with a thousand plus page tome that has enough legal mumbo jumbo to keep a convention of lawyers going for a full week. ”
Of course it’s full of “legal mumbo-jumbo.” It’s a LAW.
And you keep obsessing about the length of the bill, as if 1,000 pages is some terrible blight on its own. Tell me, do you have any idea how long other major bills have been? How this compares to them? Do you have any standard by which to judge this, other than your own astonishment that anyone could read anything longer than a Readers Digest article?
@Jack: I’m a renter. Can you explain why I am paying for a homeowner’s mortgages?
and conversely, of course, Republican presidents always decline to nominate or appoint conservative judges who see things in a Republican conservative way.
@wr: I sometimes wonder if anybody who makes this kind of complaint has ever read an actual bill? Or even their Apple I-tunes terms of service?
To follow up on that, I am a non -veteran. Why am I paying for Jack’s veteran’s benefits?
(I’m sure Jack would explain that’s totally different and that I should be glad to have the privilege of paying for his veteran’s benefits. But hell, I didn’t ASK him to sign up for the military: it was his decision).
And I certainly didn’t want to pay for whatever war of choice he was in, either.
@stonetools: Not to mention the fact that we all pay for employer provided insurance via tax subsidies as well. I wonder if Jack is one of those who feel that our employers know what is best for us and they should receive government benefits on our behalf. Those of us who are self-employed or work for a company that doesn’t provide insurance should just suck it up and pay the sticker price so Citibank can afford to purchase platinum plans for execs at a discounted rate.
And then you link to a video of the Senate Finance Committee debating over jurisdiction of amendments that doesn’t make anything clear. In fact, Baucus’s reasoning was close to Robert’s in the original Obamacare SCOTUS case about Congress’s tax power being the reason they could meddle with state insurance laws.
Not to pile on, but this is kind of hackish of you.
@Tillman: Has Max Baucus died? Can’t some intrepid journalist just call him up and, oh I don’t know, maybe ask him to clarify what he meant? As a matter of fact, isn’t mostly everyone involved in writing this bill still alive? Why are we even having this debate?
@beth: Judges don’t ever consider statements about laws after they have been passed. I think there are usually two reasons given. (1) The legislators only had an opportunity to vote on the language of the bill, not the post hoc rationalization. (2) Lack of reliability in statements made after a law is passed.
Max Baucus and the Democrats weighed in here:
The DC Court of Appeals simply ignored that, then said: “We have no way of figuring out what the lawmakers had in mind when they drafted the ACA.” Seems ridicoulous to me, but when you want to achieve a certain result, why confuse the issue with unwelcome facts?
That said, there was little in the contemporaneous legal history on the issue-probably because everyone, Democrat and Republican alike, just took for granted that the subsidies would be available to all, since nothing else made sense.
@stonetools: We have the sections of the law providing for tax credits to help offset the cost of Obamacare’s health care plans: sections 1401, 1402, 1411, 1412, 1413, 1414, and 1415. And how do those sections establish authority to provide those tax credits? Why, they specifically state ten separate times that tax credits are available to offset the costs of state health exchange plans authorized by section 1311. And how many times are section 1321 federal exchange plans mentioned? Zero.
Salon explains how the GOP is actually George Costanza and is employing his “Moops” defense….absolutely f’ing brilliant….
Which right-wing website did you cut and paste that from?
And do you plan to respond to the myriad responses to your previous comment?
Or do you intend to just pretend they do not exist?
The GOP is incapable of evaluating what the ACA was meant to do, because they oppose it. Their claims about what the authors intended are meaningless, because they are don’t understand the health care policies being discussed.
This goes double for those soulless, lying, sociopaths who brought the case, Cannon and Adler.
@C. Clavin: I will respond to any question that is on topic.
The deliberate creation of a separate section to authorize a separate federal entity is not a drafting error. The repeated and deliberate reference to one section but not another is not a drafting error. The refusal to grant equal authority to two programs authorized by two separate sections is not a drafting error. The decision to specifically reference section X but not section Y in a portion of a law that grants spending or tax authority is not a drafting error.
The clear text of the law repeatedly demonstrates that plans purchased via federal exchanges were never meant to be treated the same as plans purchased by state-based exchanges. Despite its assertions, the IRS was never granted the statutory authority to hand out tax credits related to plans purchased via a federal health exchange.
Obamacare was signed into law in March of 2010. It wasn’t until August of 2011 that the IRS decided to make tax credit subsidies available to plans purchased on federal exchanges. That’s a span of 16 months—an awfully long time to recognize and address a “drafting error.” Furthermore, actual “drafting errors” have to be corrected by new laws, not by executive fiat. Even when they are plainly obvious to everyone who sees them, that 3015 that should’ve been 2015 still has to be amended via a new law: passed by both Houses, and signed by the president. Yet, that’s not what this administration did.
In 2010, Nancy Pelosi famously claimed that Congress needed to pass Obamacare in order to find out what’s in it. Well, a federal court just read Obamacare and found out what wasn’t in it: tax credit subsidies for federal exchange health plans.
So your own comment is off topic? [Mod Warning – We’ve asked everyone to tone down the name calling. This includes you.] Republican hack. Oh wait…those are all redundant.
@C. Clavin: Awww, cupcake. You’re trying way to hard this early in the day.
@Jack: You asked a question, a bunch of people answered it. Here is another answer. I subsidize mortgage holders because we as a society, through our elected representatives, decided that owning a home has societal benefits and should be rewarded in the tax code. The same thing happened with the ACA. In 2008 the electorate chose a Democratic president and an overwhelmingly Democratic congress and we, all of us, passed the ACA. Don’t like it? Win more elections.
All of us? FACT: The ACA was passed without a single Republican vote. That’s not all of us. But you keep telling that lie that Democrats KNOW what’s best for me.
@Jack: You do understand how a representative democracy works don’t you? Your side lost and lost in a landslide and then chose to pout instead of contribute. It’s only right that you get the same treatment that children who try to take the ball and go home get.. But since you’re an adult I don’t feel a bit of guilt about it.
@KansasMom: I understand that just because there is a minority party does not mean that the majority gets to “rule from day 1”. Representative government still means listening to and resolving the problems ALL sides have with legislation. Why does the left want to protect minority rights unless that minority is one they don’t agree with?
@Jack: White dudes in Congress are a minority? Why I never!
Kinda funny that someone who is too big a pu$$y to back up his own comment is clling someone else cupcake, cupcake. But what more would one expect from you?
If you can point out where the Democrats violated the constitution or existing government precident, this entire line of thought might have more validity.
BTW, as far as I can tell, the general legislative rules laid out in the Constitution and related bylaws do, in fact, support the notion of majority rule (except in situations where it violates other constitutional concepts like the Bill of Rights).
looks like the copy paste was from “the federalist”
@C. Clavin: I always back up my comments, cupcake. You are simply too stupid to read…or is it simply a comprehension problem? Maybe if you finished High School or got your GED you could then understand what I write.
@Matt Bernius: There is no “ruler” in a Democratic Republic. Rulers were banished from our shores over 200 years ago. I know, that disheartens you as now Obama cannot continue to wear his mom jeans in the white house after Jan 2016.
@beth: To be fair, I don’t think anyone has ever read their iTunes terms of service…
However, there is a representative government that lays down “rules” (aka “laws”) — like the ACA. Which was passed according to the bylaws and rules of said Democratic Republic, which includes that fact that the *majority* has the ability to enact laws.
No matter how many times you write that “no republican voted for X,” you cannot invalidate this fact. Not only that, but there have been many times in our recent history where no Democrats voted for a measure and it still managed to pass into law.
In either case the results were no less the law of the land than any supposed “bi-partisan” measures.
Again, your logic is lacking.
Hmm. I can’t decide if you’re a gullible fool who bought the lie, or one of the ones who knows it’s a lie but is willing to repeat it. I’m leaning towards gullible fool.
There is zero possibility that the subsidies weren’t meant to also apply to the federal exchange in addition to state exchanges. No chance at all.
So is Obama a tyrant or a wuss?
You should really dig your thinking cap out of the closet one of these days.
@anjin-san: So a Tyrant can’t be a wuss?? Did J Edgar Hoover not run the FBI with an iron fist? Did he not also like wearing women’s clothing?
Obama is the biggest queen since Rupaul.
… And you keep telling us that ACA is not legal, despite (a less than unanimous) 5-4 Supreme Court decision.
Also, who said that Democrats KNOW what’s best for you?
@Jack: Ahh, another lesson from childhood Jack: Calling someone you disagree with a fa**ot says a lot more about you than it does them.
And with that, I think you can be dismissed.
I never said it was “not legal”. Link???
I never called him a fa**ot. I said queen…as in a sissy boy. Funny how you jump to that conclusion. Are you repressing something, cupcake?
Someone needs to research their statutory construction. Even the strictest textualist understands that you don’t bar the application of laws based on drafting errors.
And you well know, the Republicans would have refused to go along with correcting any drafting errors.
Note that DC Circuit had to do more to say that it was a drafting error. It had to find that legislature unambigously intended to bar subsidies to those who signed up for the federal exchange-a result that the court itself admitted would cause millions of those who signed up on the federal exchange to be unable to afford insurance. Why would Congress do that? The court couldn’t come up with a sensible rationale-because of course, there was none.
@anjin-san: Who are you to dismiss anyone, cupcake? You’re opinion is no more or no less valuable than mine.
He’s not the one claiming to have seen bigfoot and feigning innocence after repeatedly using homophobic or bigoted insults. So yeah, his opinion is more valuable than yours.
@Jack: I don’t repress a goddamn thing Jack. And if you knew me in real life, cupcake would be the last thing that came to mind. But go on with the sexist and homophobic slurs, it makes it oh so easy to dismiss anything you have to say.
@David M: Rupaul calls himself a queen. But keep trying, cupcake.
@KansasMom: Awwww, cupcake. Did I hurt your “feeeeeelings”. I know feelings are so important when it comes to debate. Feeling should override common sense and science even, just so you can get your way in life.
PAY ATTENTION TO ME! MY FEEELINGS MATTER!!!
Give it up, cupcake.
@Jack: And some black people call themselves the N word but it doesn’t make it right for you to walk up to them on the street and call them that. But you knew that didn’t you?
Anyway, I’m just saying that calling Obama names that has nothing to do with his job just makes you look like a 5 year old calling someone a poopyhead. No one can take you seriously after that.
@anjin-san: a tyrant or a wuss?
Hmmm. A look in history reveals that many times, the wuss can be seen in the tyrant.
Indeed, often its what drives them to BE tyrants…. to overcome a shortfall elsewhere.
Now, in the case of Obama, I refer you to both Plato and Aristotle who both define a tyrant as, “one who rules without law”, Which ties us back to the subject at hand rather neatly, I think.
Do you know who else believed that subsidies were meant to be available to all? Why, Supreme Court Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomnas, and Alito. From their holding back in 2012:
Now I’m pretty sure that Scalito and Thomas will have no problem doing a 180 on this and holding that, of course, they never thought that subsidies should go to those on the federal exchange, but this will likely be a bridge too far for Kennedy or Roberts. They have a few shreds of intellectual credibility to clutch at.
@beth: I find it funny that everyone chooses to chastise me for calling Obama names…someone not here and completely unaffected by this discussion.., yet I’m called a [Mod: OK – general rule of thumb, if you need to insert “$” or “#” into a word, don’t use it here – especially *after* we’ve already modded it once in a thread] and there are only chirps.
One standard is all I ask.
@Jack: You are the only person talking about feelings. The rest of us are just pointing out that the tax code favors behaviors that society find desirable, home ownership, child rearing, having health insurance etc. and that the winners get to have more say when it comes time to vote. The fact that our stance is morally right as well is just icing on the, hmmmmm, let’s go with cupcake.
@Jack: “One standard is all I ask.”
It seems that “standards” is something of great concern to the most aggressive of trolls around here. Both you and Jenos are greatly aggrieved by having your comments policed.
I’m not a moderator here, so it’s really not my place to apologize for your unhappiness. I can say, though, that as one who has occasionally crossed the line and been corrected for it, I’ve found that it’s really easy to avoid future correction by choosing not to cross the line any more.
And you know, it’s really not that hard a standard to live up to. For example, if you simply hit the delete backwards key seven times whenever you found yourself typing the word “cupcake,” I suspect most of the responses to you — which now seem to send you into paroxysms of inappropriate language — would become much more about what you want to say and less about how you’re saying it. (Of course it’s a little more complicated if you’re on a Mac, which I believe only has a forward delete key. But this is a challenge that can be overcome!)
Or, of course, you could find a site that encourages flame wars. I’m sure we’d miss you — and Jenos, too, of course, if he’s still feeling unfairly moderated — but your happiness is more important to us than your presence here.
@wr: So, you are saying that you oppose thes same standards for everyone? Liberals/leftists/democrats should be able to flame conservatives/tea party/republicans all they want unabated and unchallenged?
I could care less what people call me, but then don’t jump in my chili when I return the favor.
One standard is all I ask.
I know this will dishearten you, but Obama is gonna hang around in the White House in his jeans until Jan 2017.
The tax code favors ALL people who buy homes and ALL people who have children..but they only favor POOR people having health insurance. That pesky 14th amendments says we are all equal in the eyes of the law….and tax code.
You might need to expand on that, I’m not sure you’re making a coherent point.
@Jack: The tax code also favors those people with insurance through their jobs by making health insurance a deductible business expense for the employer and non-taxable compensation for the employee. So the poor and the majority of the folks getting insurance are favored equally by the tax code – it’s mostly the self-employed who get screwed.
Sigh, and you are wrong about that too(hint -employer tax benefits that subsidize them offfering their employeees health insurance).
Now I agree that you should not be subjected to verbal abuse for being wrong… but you are wrong so often, and always in such a brash , condescending tone.
Why don’t you start again and be more modest and less absolutist in your assertions. Try that and may be others won’t be tempted to pile on.Just a suggestion.
Actually…thanks to the tax-code…60% of Americans get government subsidized insurance through their employers. Certainly they are not all poor.
I’m sure that now you know the facts you will change your position, as your position is based on total mis-information.
Bwuh – hahahahahahhaha……too funny.
I wonder if Jack is going to give up his Government subsidized health care?
@Jack: Subsidies apply to families making as much as $94,000/year. While I’ll concede that these people aren’t rich, calling them poor really expands the population open to kicking. Like I said, morality is on our side too.
And that, is a “drafting error”. And while Ican choose to edit that, were it passed into law that way, it would have to be corrected through the legislative process. No one is allowed to “assume” what I meant.
Thanks for proving my point.
@C. Clavin: I wonder if Jack is going to give up his Government subsidized health care?
@Jack: So you got benefits in lieu of pay. Just like every employee in the country gets benefits in lieu of pay if their employer offers insurance . In that case however, the employer gets a huge tax break for providing the benefits, which means the taxpayers are subsidizing (i.e. paying for) it. Why should the self-employed or those that work for grinches subsidize YOU while getting nothing in return? You don’t actually understand how all of this works do you? And spare me the fighting for my life nonsense. There hasn’t been a war in my lifetime that was actually necessary and I find the reflexive worship of the military nauseating and just a little bit scary.
I didn’t ask you to go fight in a war of choice, and my life was never in danger.
Why should I pay? According to your own logic…or illogic…I shouldn’t.
Thats the problem with folks like you…you got yours and now you want to pull the ladder up behind you.
Not providing subsidies for policies purchased on the federal health care exchange can’t be both an intentional policy choice and a drafting error. It’s one or the other, they are mutually exclusive.
@David M: David,
I am not the one claiming it’s a drafting error, liberals are.
@KansasMom: @C. Clavin:
And I didn’t get to choose the wars I fought in. I simply volunteered and went where I was told. You either agree we need a military presence or you don’t. After that, it’s up to the politicians to decide what is done with the military.
So, once you agree there is a need for a military presence, you then must agree with the benefits that are part of the all volunteer force package. You don’t get one without the other.
Then you’re claiming the equivalent of having seen bigfoot. Good luck getting that taken seriously.
And the politicians decided that poor people deserve access to health care.
Only you think you are special.
@David M: How on earth am I claiming to have seen Big Foot? Liberals are stating that the court agreed to overturn the IRSs decision to include subsidies for federal exchanges was wrong due to a “drafting error”. Essentially they are saying that congress meant to put it in there but didn’t do to an oversight.
Congress was using the state exchanges as a carrot for states to set up exchanges because they would receive monies from the federal government. They purposely left out federal exchanges from the subsidy agreement. They never believed 36 states wouldn’t take the carrot. Now they are stuck because of the way they drafted the legislation.
Except there is zero evidence to support this, and a mountain of evidence to support the idea that everyone expected the subsidies to be available on the federal exchanges.
And they are receiving these benefits for doing no more than signing up. They didn’t sacrifice. They didn’t serve. Hell, they don’t even have to work as a condition of receiving welfare anymore. Society simply gives them more and more for nothing in return.
I no more special than the millions of police, firefighters, civil servants, etc., that have put in the time to earn their benefits. Benefits I would not have received if I have only served 19 years and 11 months.
@David M: Show me the evidence.
The repeated and deliberate reference to one section but not another was not an error. The refusal to grant equal authority to two programs authorized by two separate sections was not an error. The decision to specifically reference section X but not section Y in a portion of a law that grants spending or tax authority was not an error.
The clear text of the law repeatedly demonstrates that plans purchased via federal exchanges were never meant to be treated the same as plans purchased by state-based exchanges. Despite its assertions, the IRS was never granted the statutory authority to hand out tax credits related to plans purchased via a federal health exchange.
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) specifically states:
`(2) WORK REQUIREMENT- Subject to the other provisions of this subsection, no individual shall be eligible to participate in the food stamp program as a member of any household if, during the preceding 36-month period, the individual received food stamp benefits for not less than 3 months (consecutive or otherwise) during which the individual did not–
`(A) work 20 hours or more per week, averaged monthly;
`(B) participate in and comply with the requirements of a work program for 20 hours or more per week, as determined by the State agency;
`(C) participate in and comply with the requirements of a program under section 20 or a comparable program established by a State or political subdivision of a State
I suppose it’s clear by the text that no work actually has to be performed in order to get benefits. You know, because that’s what congress really intended according to the Department of Health and Human Services in 2012…yet another unelected administrative body that makes up the rules out of whole cloth.
That’s in no way close to evidence that they intended not to allow subsidies on the federal exchanges. That’s evidence the section was worded poorly, but not evidence it was an intentional policy decision.
This wasn’t something done 40 years ago. We were all around, and know what happened. These claims about the federal exchanges subsidies are flat out lies, by dishonest hacks or gullible fools.
The same way it’s not evidence that congress intended people to work to be eligible for Welfare? That way? Apparently section 2 a, b and c of the PRWORA were simply poorly worded.
If that was congress’ intent, then congress can fix it. It’s not up to an unelected executive agency to decide what congress intended.
Oh, so that’s why Nancy Pelosi claimed we had to pass the law to find out what was in it. Well we found out. Congress doesn’t just get to say ooopppss. They must administratively change the bill.
There’s nothing to fix, the intent was that the subsidies were intended to go to the federal exchange as well as the state exchanges, the overall law supports that, and the agency is carrying out both the letter of the law and the intent of the law.
@Jack: Yeah, you really don’t understand how this works. Here in Kansas our asshole governor refused Medicaid expansion so those worthless layabouts can’t get insurance, period. The exchanges only apply to people who make more than $20,000 a year. Now I suppose it’s possible that there are some trust fund babies laying around watching Netflix all day on their 20 grand and sucking up subsidies, but in reality they are people like my ex husband who is self-employed. Heat Index was 97 here today, 108 yesterday, and he worked 10 hours doing carpentry work. Pre-existing conditions left him without insurance for years until Obamacare. We don’t live in a comic book, very few things are black and white. Get over yourself Jack. Serving in the military doesn’t make you special. You did a job, you were paid for it. Why you got be a dick to those who weren’t lucky enough to work for the best employer in the world, the American public.
@David M: You cannot say that was the intent when the law clearly states that
exchanges get subsidies?
@KansasMom: No, serving in the military doesn’t make me special. Yet, that was the contract I signed. The government told me in return for x, I would get y. Therefore, I did x.
A better example/corollary would be for me to tell the government I did x, now give me y and z although I never earned z. But I want it now, so I should get it. Or somehow I deserve it. Or because I can’t make it on my own, they should feel pity for me and give it to me.
Additionally, the worthless layabouts as you call them earning under 20k are getting medicaid for free.
@Jack: We have the sections of the law providing for tax credits to help offset the cost of Obamacare’s health care plans: sections 1401, 1402, 1411, 1412, 1413, 1414, and 1415. And how do those sections establish authority to provide those tax credits? Why, they specifically state ten separate times that tax credits are available to offset the costs of state health exchange plans authorized by section 1311. And how many times are section 1321 federal exchange plans mentioned? Zero.
@Jack: No they are not. In Kansas a household of 4 has to make less than $425/month for the adults to qualify for Medicaid. No kids,no Medicaid. Period. Ever. You don’t know the first thing about what you say.
And congratulations, you worked for the best employer in the world. Show some respect.
Remember, the states were never told they were ineligible for subsidies if they didn’t set up their own exchange. How is it supposed to encourage them to set up their own exchange if they don’t know about it.
The CBO scored the bill with the understanding that the subsidies would also go to the federal exchanges.
The bill requires the federal exchange to report the subsidies to the IRS.
The goal of the bill was to expand access to health care, which supports the idea that they intended to provide subsidies on the federal exchange.
Other parts of the law also support the idea that the federal exchange is the equivalent of the state exchange when discussing the “qualified individuals” eligible to purchase insurance.
There are no Democrats on record stating this clear intent. And given it’s only Democrats that passed the bill, it’s their intent that matters here.
Due to the filibuster and election of Scott Brown, poorly worded sections are to be expected. This ambiguity isn’t evidence the subsidies weren’t intended for the federal exchanges as well.
This lawsuit and reasoning is only supported by the law’s opponents, not it’s supporters, so that should say something about what the original intent was.
No State officials or legislators mentioned the lack of subsidies as a reason to build a state exchange.
The federal exchanges are described as replacing the state exchange or being an equivalent substitute, meaning eligible for subsidies, among other things.
@KansasMom: I don’t know the specifics of Kansas, but trust me, Kansas is being stingy compared to most states who have expanded medicaid eligibility.
Medi-Cal will is available to adults under 138% of the federal poverty level who are citizens or legal California residents for 5 or more years.
NY: Medicaid for adults between ages 21-65 who are not disabled and without children under 21 in the household. It was sometimes known as “S/CC” category for Singles and Childless Couples. This category had lower income limits than DAB/ADC-related, but had no asset limits. It did not allow “spend down” of excess income. This category has now been subsumed under the new MAGI adult group whose limit is now raised to 138% FPL.
@David M: If what you say is true, and much of it is supposition, then why didn’t they mention, at least once, offsets to the costs of federal health exchange plans authorized by section 1321?
If it were an intentional decision to not allow subsidies in the federal exchanges, we would have seen the following:
**The administration warning states they would lose the subsidies if they didn’t set up their own exchange.
**Complaints from small states that they couldn’t handle running their own exchange and didn’t want to lose the subsidies.
**This lawsuit brought by supporters of the law.
**Discussions by Democratic lawmakers where they clearly said that the subsidies were only for state exchanges.
**Reports from the CBO showing how the subsidy amounts would be smaller if fewer states set up their own exchange.
However, we didn’t see any of that. We only saw opponents of the law claim this was the intent, all the while actively working to sabotage and undermine the law.
@David M: Um, again….even Nancy Pelosi, the freaking speaker of the house at the time, didn’t know what was in it before it passed.
Laws and legislators don’t say what laws don’t cover, they say what they do cover.
@Jack: WE DID NOT EXPAND MEDICAID BECAUSE OUR GOV IS AN ASSHOLE. Sorry for the screaming but comparing KS to California is like comparing a Tesla to a trike with one flat tire.
That particular inanity continues to appeal to some, but no one takes it remotely seriously.
But anyway, according to Jack, this was an intentional policy decision. How does not knowing what’s in the bill support that?
@KansasMom: But, Kansas has a representative government right? Many people above, including yourself, told me this means that their decisions are gospel from on high and because Obamacare passed I’m just supposed to like it or lump it. State governments, not just the governors, decided against medicare expansions the same way they decided against state exchanges.
@David M: How does no mention of subsidies for federal exchanges in the actual law support your argument?
By your logic, I can read the ACA to say Jack gets a 100% rebate on all state and federal taxes. It’s not in there, but I know what they meant.
Federal exchange is not different than state exchange for subsidies. It’s a distinction without a meaningful difference. It only matters to people who want to repeal the law, which doesn’t support the idea that this was a deliberate policy decision by the Democrats who voted for the law.
How does eliminating subsidies from the federal exchange help people get health insurance? This is a serious question, as that was the goal of the ACA.
Then why did they make a separate section for federal exchanges? Why not have one section titled “exchanges”? There was intent that they be separate and be treated separately.
How does eliminating subsidies from the federal exchange help people get health insurance? This is a serious question, as that was the goal of the ACA.
They WANTED states to set up their own exchanges. I direct you to the 10th amendment. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. By creating both a state and federal exchange, this was their out against 10th amendment challenges and backlash.
@Jack: Sort of. In Kansas the Koch Brothers are real and they own the state govt. We will rectify that soon. Irrelevant to the topic of the thread though.The ACA, a federal law, applies to Kansas, even if our very own asshole wants to deny it. As David continues to point out there is no evidence that the law was ever intended to withhold subsidies from those on the state exchanges. Malevolence vs Evidence.
So why did the IRS wait nearly 16 months to spring this new interpretation on the public? That’s also an easy one. As of August 17, 2011, when its rule was first proposed, only ten states had passed laws establishing their own exchanges. Seventeen had outright rejected the Obamacare exchanges. All told, 40 states had by that point failed to do the administration’s bidding and set up state-based Obamacare exchanges.
Without exchanges in every state, Obamacare would surely fail as a policy matter. And without massive subsidies to offset the costs of Obamacare’s health plans, Obamacare would fail as a political matter. The IRS maneuver was a last-ditch attempt to paper over the law’s serious structural flaws.
Non responsive. How does eliminating subsidies from the federal exchange help people get health insurance?
Even if they wanted states to set up their own exchanges, why eliminate subsidies from the federal exchange further the goal of increasing health care coverage. (No one cares about the 10th Amendment nut jobs on the right.)
@KansasMom: Ahhh, the Koch Brothers….that explains everything. I guess the Koch Brothers are to blame in all the other states that didn’t expand medicare and create state exchanges too.
2011 is way early, you clearly don’t understand what’s going on there. The exchanges came on line in 2013, so what you’re describing is perfectly normal.
Still sticking to your lie that this was an intentional policy decision? Even as you post the obvious reason it could not have been, and wasn’t?
@David M: What do you mean non-responsive. They had to get the states involved. They wanted people to get subsidies via state exchanges. They did not want to spend billions and billions on a federal exchange and be unable to vet even the most obvious fakes seeking subsidies. They wanted states to do all the work.
“Fake applicants were able to get subsidized insurance coverage in 11 of 18 attempts, according to a report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. ”
@Jack: You clearly don’t know much about Kansas.
You still have not even started to answer the question of why the Democrats who voted for the bill and who wanted to increase access to health care would not want the subsidies to go to the federal exchange.
This is a reference to the IRS decisions to extend subsidies to federal exchanges. How am I then “post[ing] the obvious reason it could not have been intentional” in the law?
@KansasMom: So, you have a dictatorship? Has anyone told Obama about this? Because he would surely like to know how they succeeded.
You’ve proved the subsidies were always meant to go to the federal exchange.
@David M: Why did they refer to it as a “penalty”, insist it was a penalty and not a tax increase all through the passage of the law and then before the courts call it a tax?
Who knows why stupid legislators do what they do?
@David M: No. I haven’t. No more than you have proven subsidies were supposed to go to the federal exchange.
Still not evidence that the bills authors intended to withhold subsidies from the federal exchange.
@David M: Still not evidence that the bills authors intended to include subsidies in the federal exchange. I do not have to prove a negative. The IRS on the other hand, must prove a positive in order to interpret the law as they have.
You should probably re-read the thread. Several times in fact, as you appear to have some sort of difficulty with the English language.
At this point, it seems pretty clear you don’t understand the issues enough to realize you’ve been lied to.
You’re the one making the claim about the intent of the law, and yet you won’t provide one single piece of evidence in support of it. (The ambiguity in the law doesn’t count, as that’s what we’re trying to resolve.)
@Jack: It’s easy to show how everyone thought the subsidies applied to the federal exchanges, and I’ve done that.
You’ve admitted why not having subsidies apply to the federal exchange would be a bad idea. What you haven’t done is explained why the people who passed the bill would have made the opposite decision, especially given their goal of expanding access.
1) Subsidies are required in the State Exchanges.
2) If the State doesn’t elect to set up an exchange, “…the Secretary shall (directly or through agreement with a not- for-profit entity) establish and operate such Exchange within the State and the Secretary shall take such actions as are necessary to implement such other requirements.”
It can’t be any plainer.
@ringhals: That is, you can’t create an exchange such as a State Exchange without the subsidy, That’s the plain intent of the law.
And just because it’s helpful in the goal of repealing Obamacare, that’s not a convincing reason for the Democrats to have wanted to exclude the subsidies from the federal exchange.
So you changed the goalposts from “politicians decide” to you EARNED your handouts and they didn’t.
Sorry…access to basic health care shouldn’t have to be earned…it should be considered a natural right.
@Jack: We don’t have dictator, we have bought and paid for governor and legislature. But like I said, we’ll rectify that soon. The Koch’s may be the bogey man elsewhere but their headquarters are here. The conservatives in this state don’t do a thing without their consent. Nothing, nada, zilch. The moderates have woken up though and will vote for the Democrat in November. Then we will expand medicaid and all those lazy SOBs will be sucking up your money. It makes me happy.
@Jack: Actually, no. If people were reading you the way you read the ACA text, they would be calling Secret service on you, as you clearly threatened to shorten Obama’s tenure by a year, and that can be done via impeachment or assassination only. Since like all normal people, we employ contextual reason, we understood that this is a typo/honest error, and reacted appropriately.