Obamacare Subsidies Ruled Illegal!

 

After holding us in suspense for almost two weeks beyond the expected date for the decision, a panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on Halbig v. Sebelius. In a 2-1 ruling, the court held that the text of the Affordable Care Act only allows subsidies for insurance policies purchased through state established exchanges. Thus, the subsidies currently being paid to those who purchased through the federal exchange (the overwhelming majority of all policies) are illegal.

This is a really big deal. Though the ruling will certainly be appealed, first to an en banc panel of the D.C. Circuit and then probably to the Supreme Court, Obamacare will essentially collapse if the panel’s ruling is upheld. Stay tuned.

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  1. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Hmm, what is this now? The rule of law?

    Why hello, nice to see you it’s been awhile.

    • #1
  2. user_339092 Member
    user_339092
    @PaulDougherty

    No word from the White House as to whether this ruling need be considered valid.

    • #2
  3. user_1050 Member
    user_1050
    @MattBartle

    In a just world this would humiliate the Democrats who wrote the thing and failed to anticipate this possibility.

    But I fear the whole 2014 election season will now be “We Democrats want to give you back your subsidies and the cruel Republicans are trying to keep them from you.”

    • #3
  4. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    “America held hostage by two old white guys.”  There’s your narrative.

    • #4
  5. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    “Today, I have issued an Executive Order to correct the minor wording error in the Affordable Care Act to enable subsidies through Federal enrollments. New HHS Secretary Burwell is hitting the ground running issuing these subsidies to deserving American families…”

    in 3…2…

    • #5
  6. Goldgeller Member
    Goldgeller
    @Goldgeller

    Thanks for posting. I just saw that the ruling was delivered from HotAir a few minutes ago. I then saw a tweet saying that the Obama Admin would keep the subsidies going. Can they do that? I imagine this is because they  [The Admin] plan on appealing the ruling, but what’s the time frame in these situations? The subsidies, or lack thereof, will have a direct effect on the elections this year. If the next appeals court doesn’t address this until on or around the election, will the Obama Admin just keep giving out subsidies until… when?  

    In any case, this isn’t necessarily the magic bullet that ends the ACA. For one thing, Democrats will blame governors who don’t set up their own exchanges. “Why don’t you want citizens to get subsidies Mr. Republican? Why aren’t you setting up exchanges to help your citizens?” I’m not confident that GOP will win this public relations fight. I think they can win it; I’m just not confident.

    • #6
  7. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Matthew Bartle:

    In a just world this would humiliate the Democrats who wrote the thing and failed to anticipate this possibility.

    Of course they anticipated it, that was the entire point of the subsidies. The idea was that these funds would push states into setting up their own exchanges. When that didn’t work, with 35 states declining to do so, the President simply decided by fiat to grant subsidies at a federal level. Just another example of this administration’s lawlessness.

    • #7
  8. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    This. Is. Awesome.

    • #8
  9. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Goldgeller: I then saw a tweet saying that the Obama Admin would keep the subsidies going. Can they do that? I imagine this is because they [The Admin] plan on appealing the ruling, but what’s the time frame in these situations? The subsidies, or lack thereof, will have a direct effect on the elections this year. If the next appeals court doesn’t address this until on or around the election, will the Obama Admin just keep giving out subsidies until… when?

     The enforcement of the ruling will be stayed pending appeal. That’s nothing unusual. It’s highly unlikely that this will be resolved by the midterms, particularly since it will probably go all the way to SCOTUS. It’s pretty likely, however, that it will be settled before the next presidential election.

    • #9
  10. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Goldgeller: In any case, this isn’t necessarily the magic bullet that ends the ACA. For one thing, Democrats will blame governors who don’t set up their own exchanges. “Why don’t you want citizens to get subsidies Mr. Republican? Why aren’t you setting up exchanges to help your citizens?” I’m not confident that GOP will win this public relations fight. I think they can win it; I’m just not confident.

     It’s a magic bullet in the sense that if the ruling is upheld all Republicans have to do to ensure the ACA collapses is pursue a course of masterly inactivity.

    • #10
  11. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    George Will has written about this case, identifying it as the real threat to Obamacare. 

    In essence, as I understand it (pause for joke here), the original law was written to squeeze states into accepting the scheme and creating their own state-run exchanges. When thirty-plus states refused such a generous federal offer … Obama just went around them and rewrote the provisions to establish the exchanges anyway.

    I suppose we’re so accustomed to Obama revising laws on the fly that we’ve forgotten just how unconstitutional that is. But this ruling restores the sting of unconstitutionality. Article III is telling Article II: no, you just can’t do that. 

    If GOP consultants deserve a dime of remuneration, they’ll go out and flood the airwaves to explain why this ruling upholds the rule of law, and counter the all-too-expected media and Democrat whining that this is just a partisan obstruction. If the GOP consultants haven’t already prepared a communications strategy, please fire every damned one of those parasites immediately. They’re not worth a penny.

    • #11
  12. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    By the way, Sal, you’re on a roll. Ricochet MVP of the month …

    • #12
  13. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Salvatore Padula: The enforcement of the ruling will be stayed pending appeal. That’s nothing unusual.

     Not unusual, except for rulings striking down state constitutional bans on gay marriage. There have been several cases were judges didn’t stay their ruling pending appeal, or waited a week before staying their ruling, and…oh… Ok, I shouldn’t turn this into a SSM thread;-)

    • #13
  14. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Sal,

    Pinch me would you, I must be dreaming.  If I’m not mistaken the Courts just shot Obamacare in the a..(coc violation).  Yep, you are going to get Health Care at 50 to 150% higher cost and no subsidy (read tax credit because that’s what it is).  Even Lawrence Tribe is throwing in the towel.

    You see inside the silver envelope of Obamacare there are sixteen seperate gas bags filled with Federal Code written by an idiot.

    OH THE HUMANITY!!!

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #14
  15. user_1050 Member
    user_1050
    @MattBartle

    Roberto:

    Matthew Bartle:

    In a just world this would humiliate the Democrats who wrote the thing and failed to anticipate this possibility.

    Of course they anticipated it, that was the entire point of the subsidies. The idea was that these funds would push states into setting up their own exchanges. When that didn’t work, with 35 states declining to do so, the President simply decided by fiat to grant subsidies at a federal level. Just another example of this administration’s lawlessness.

     You’re right, of course – it was set up this way on purpose.

    Let me amend that to say that they didn’t anticipate that so many states would opt out, so they chose to ignore the law. Then they didn’t anticipate that they would lose in court.

    But the main point stands – this should be bad news for the Democrats but I fear that they and the media will make Republicans the bad guys for not wanting to fix it.

    • #15
  16. Goldgeller Member
    Goldgeller
    @Goldgeller

    @Salvatore Padula

    My post didn’t go through earlier… Thanks for answering. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. 

    I’m really wondering if the Republicans will be able to sit back and watch Obamacare collapse under its own weight. They’ll be under constant media attack to create a health exchanges, and they’ll have to go on TV to “defend their decision to not give citizens access to subsidies.” Democrats won’t be called out defend their decision to support such a silly law though! 

    I’m wondering if now we won’t see John Roberts get his revenge. The democrats have finally been given enough rope to hang themselves on with the ACA. (If the ruling isn’t altered in subsequent appeals).

    • #16
  17. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Salvatore Padula:

    It’s pretty likely, however, that it will be settled before the next presidential election.

     Once again the Republican party hopes that the courts will do for them what they lack the  balls to do for themselves. I feeling a bit jaded, so I predict that the 5-4 decision by the Supreme court will have our chief justice once again compromising with the liberals to duck any and all responsibility on this issue like last time. Republicans will get angry and we will vote in a congress that will then bravely ignore Obamacare and move on comprehensive immigration reform to guarantee their next election victory.  

    • #17
  18. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Valiuth:

    I feeling a bit jaded, so I predict that the 5-4 decision by the Supreme court will have our chief justice once again compromising with the liberals to duck any and all responsibility on this issue like last time. 

    This is the most likely possibility, though the horrible launch of Obamacare, combined with it’s continued unpopularity might have an effect on Roberts this go around.

    • #18
  19. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Valiuth: I feeling a bit jaded, so I predict that the 5-4 decision by the Supreme court will have our chief justice once again compromising with the liberals to duck any and all responsibility on this issue like last time.

     I understand why you feel that way, but I don’t think that is likely to happen in this case. I think Chief Justice Roberts ruled the way he did on the individual mandate because he places excessive weight on the doctrine of constitutional avoidance. Halbig (like Hobby Lobby) does not present constitutional questions. It’s a straightforward statutory interpretation case. Roberts’ record on such cases is pretty good.

    • #19
  20. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Frank Soto:

    Valiuth:

    I feeling a bit jaded, so I predict that the 5-4 decision by the Supreme court will have our chief justice once again compromising with the liberals to duck any and all responsibility on this issue like last time.

    This is the most likely possibility, though the horrible launch of Obamacare, combined with it’s continued unpopularity might have an effect on Roberts this go around.

     Roberts twisted himself into knots to justify this thing. He’s not going to overturn it over a single line. He and the liberal 4 will, in the end, just ignore what the law says and find some excuse to let it stand. 

    • #20
  21. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Douglas:

    Frank Soto:

    Valiuth:

    I feeling a bit jaded, so I predict that the 5-4 decision by the Supreme court will have our chief justice once again compromising with the liberals to duck any and all responsibility on this issue like last time.

    This is the most likely possibility, though the horrible launch of Obamacare, combined with it’s continued unpopularity might have an effect on Roberts this go around.

    Roberts twisted himself into knots to justify this thing. He’s not going to overturn it over a single line. He and the liberal 4 will, in the end, just ignore what the law says and find some excuse to let it stand.

    He has overturned multiple lines of it, so this assertion is overstated.

    • #21
  22. Mark Thatcher
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Wish it was a big deal but don’t think it is and it will not reach the Supreme Court.

    I understand the 4th Circuit just ruled on the same issue in the Administration’s favor.  The DC Circuit will be reviewed again in an en banc proceeding and the Circuit bench has just been stacked with Obama approved statists after Harry Reid nuked the judicial filibuster.

    When the DC Circuit en banc overturns today’s deicision there will be no conflict between the circuits and the Supreme Court will decline to hear appeals from either.

    The Unitary State tightens its grip.

    • #22
  23. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Mark:

    Wish it was a big deal but don’t think it is and it will not reach the Supreme Court.

    I understand the 4th Circuit just ruled on the same issue in the Administration’s favor. The DC Circuit will be reviewed again in an en banc proceeding and the Circuit bench has just been stacked with Obama approved statists after Harry Reid nuked the judicial filibuster.

    When the DC Circuit en banc overturns today’s deicision there will be no conflict between the circuits and the Supreme Court will decline to hear appeals from either.

    The Unitary State tightens its grip.

     The 4th Circuit’s ruling makes it even more likely that this will go to the Supreme Court. It also makes an en banc hearing at the D.C. Circuit a bit less likely.

    Why do you think the full D.C. Circuit will reverse the panel’s decision?

    • #23
  24. Mark Thatcher
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Salvatore Padula:

    The 4th Circuit’s ruling makes it even more likely that this will go to the Supreme Court. It also makes an en banc hearing at the D.C. Circuit a bit less likely.

    Why do you think the full D.C. Circuit will reverse the panel’s decision?

     The purpose of killing the judicial filibuster was to fill the DC Circuit with very liberal judges which has been accomplished.  They are now in the majority.  For that very reason I think there will be an en banc hearing.  I predict the majority will overturn the three judge panel with a one word decision: “Whatever.”

    I hope you are correct in your reading of the situation but I am not optimistic.

    • #24
  25. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Mark- I think you’re being a bit excessively pessimistic, but even if the en banc D.C. Circuit reverses the panel there are almost certainly the four votes on the Supreme Court necessary to grant cert. This will go to the Supreme Court.

    • #25
  26. hawk@haakondahl.com Inactive
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    I’m with those who predict the Court will shank this, in spirit if not in detail.
    This is the worst sort of victory.  All this will do is chunk out little pieces of it to be fixed through (shocker!) innovative interpretations of what passes for law in this post-Constitutional democracy.  This administration does not fear laws or judges.
    This is the pathetic state we have reached, glad to win crumbs on technicalities because we refused to fight on principle.  This misbegotten law and the filthy authorial ruling that cemented it in place will be with us for a long time.  Perhaps to the end.

    • #26
  27. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    I’m with those who predict the Court will shank this, in spirit if not in detail. This is the worst sort of victory. All this will do is chunk out little pieces of it to be fixed through (shocker!) innovative interpretations of what passes for law in this post-Constitutional democracy. This administration does not fear laws or judges. This is the pathetic state we have reached, glad to win crumbs on technicalities because we refused to fight on principle. This misbegotten law and the filthy authorial ruling that cemented it in place will be with us for a long time. Perhaps to the end.

     This decision did not “chuck out a little piece” of the ACA. If policies purchased on the federal exchange are not subsidized Obamacare is literally doomed. 

    • #27
  28. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    I sometimes like to read what the other side has to say.  What are your thoughts?

    • #28
  29. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Spin:

    I sometimes like to read what the other side has to say. What are your thoughts?

     That was not the best defense of the Administration’s interpretation of the law I’ve encountered. I think the D.C Circuit’s opinion correct about the ACA unambiguously prohibiting subsidy for the federal exchange, but the strongest counterargument is that the statute is ambiguous and the agency is entitled to Chevron deference. The New Republic article seems to argue that federal subsidies are unambiguously allowed. Even the government didn’t seriously press that point.

    • #29
  30. Mark Thatcher
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Salvatore Padula:

    Spin:

    I sometimes like to read what the other side has to say. What are your thoughts?

    That was not the best defense of the Administration’s interpretation of the law I’ve encountered. I think the D.C Circuit’s opinion correct about the ACA unambiguously prohibiting subsidy for the federal exchange, but the strongest counterargument is that the statute is ambiguous and the agency is entitled to Chevron deference. The New Republic article seems to argue that federal subsidies are unambiguously allowed. Even the government didn’t seriously press that point.

     I agree.  Apparently Chevron deference was important in the 4th Circuit decision.  Of course, Chevron itself was wrongly decided but that’s a discussion for another day.

    • #30

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