Hoist By Their Own Petard

More ObamaCare mess.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a federal regulations that implemented subsidies that are vital to President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, in direct conflict with another ruling on the issue handed down earlier on Tuesday.

A three-judge panel unanimously said the law was ambiguous, and that it would defer to the IRS’s determination that subsidies could go to individuals who purchased health insurance on both federal and state-run exchanges.

The second court was obviously more liberal agenda driven since the Law does state the Feds are excluded from the exchanges. This was a political attempt, that partially failed, to get Republican Governors to cave-in and they didn’t. Now the Agenda has a new problem.

The ACA (ObamaCare) say the subsidies shall be available to persons who purchase health insurance in an exchange “established by the state.” But 34 states have chosen not to establish exchanges.

Nothing a few Agenda-driven judges can’t confuse! 🙂

A separate panel from a federal appeals court in Washington on Tuesday morning said the IRS could not offer premium tax credits to people who purchase insurance through the federal insurance marketplace that serves most of the 8 million consumers who have signed up for private coverage for 2014.

Analysts estimate that as many as 5 million people could be affected if subsidies disappear from the federal marketplace, which serves 36 states through the website HealthCare.gov.

The subsidies are available to people with annual incomes of up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or $94,200 for a family of four.

The subsidies were the bribes to get people in the door of ObamaCare in the first place, as well as the cudgel against Republicans.

Did anyone mention cost? 🙂

Democrats in Congress passed a law that explicitly limited Obamacare subsidy eligibility to consumers who purchased plans on state-level exchanges. They did so in order to coerce and bribe states into setting up their own marketplaces under the law. (Another attempt at coercion, mandatory Medicaid expansion, has been struck down 7-2 by the Supreme Court). Given the controversial law’s unpopularity, a majority of states declined to establish exchanges, forcing the federal government to create the infamous federal version — with Healthcare.gov as its centerpiece. Subsequent New York Times reporting indicated that HHS never expected to have to set up any exchange at all, let alone for 36 states. That’s because they were laboring under the belief that the law’s sticks and carrots would compel every state to implement marketplaces on their own. Many did not, and the plain text of the law clearly states that anyone buying coverage through any system other than a state-based exchange would not be eligible to receive generous taxpayer subsidies, which relieve much of the heavy cost burden for many consumers (even with the subsidies, many enrollees say they’re struggling to pay).
Faced with this predicament, the IRS decided that Congress’ true intent was for all exchange consumers to have a shot at subsidies if they were financially eligible, so it simply decreed it to be so in the form of a regulation that effectively rewrote a major provision the law. Today, the Court ruled that the law says what it says, and that the IRS overstepped. This decision, at least for now, plunges Obamacare into chaos — and furious Democrats have no one to blame but themselves. When you ram through a lengthy, hastily slapped-together, unpopular law without reading it, unintended consequences sometimes arise. And this one’s a biggie. Then again, as Will notes in his piece, a strong case can be made that this passage of the law was very much crafted intentionally, even if today’s fallout was ‘never supposed to happen.’ Congress debated how to phrase the subsidy eligibility language, and ended up passing the Senate’s version — a move made necessary by the anti-Obamacare election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts. A previous House version’s verbiage had been much more encompassing. But it didn’t pass. Obamacare did. If it stands, this ruling not only strips subsidy eligibility from many Americans (which could/will touch off a breathtaking adverse selection death spiral), it liberates tens of millions from the unpopular individual mandate tax. Why? (Guy Benson)

Time for King Fiat and His Executive Order Super Glue? 🙂

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

So Israel should stop being so mean to the Palestinians… 🙂

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley