Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Monday, September 08, 2014

Stunning Setback to Obamacare

Obamacare is the biggest legislative failure in history. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that Obamacare’s subsidies that induced some 5 million Americans to sign up for the program are actually prohibited by law. This humiliation to the Obama Administration was a devastating setback to legislation already plagued by a 59-40% disapproval rating among the public. Twice as many Americans say they are being hurt rather than helped by Obamacare.

People in households making between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line (between $11,670 and $46,680 per year for one-person households) have been getting subsidies to buy insurance on health insurance exchanges. A staggering 90% of those who signed up for this Obamacare insurance did so only because of these subsidies, which the Court just ruled are illegal. Perhaps Obama and his lieutenants should have read the bill before railroading it through Congress. The text of Obamacare expressly states that the subsidies for the purchase of health insurance on an exchange are available only for an “Exchange established by the State.” But most states did not create a state exchange, so the federal subsidies are illegal.

The D.C. Circuit Court upheld the law as it was passed, and properly rejected attempts by the Obama Administration to rewrite it now. The Court admitted that “our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly,” but confined its ruling to interpreting the law rather than rewriting it as Obama seeks now. It is refreshing that a panel of judges on the D.C. Circuit applied the law as it was written and passed by Congress, rather than rewriting it as Obama now wishes he had written it.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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