Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Monday, August 03, 2015

Obama Care Is Now SCOTUS Care

When Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass Obamacare in order to find out what was in it, she wasn't kidding. More than five years after President Obama signed it, the Supreme Court has told us that one of Obamacare’s most important provisions means the exact opposite of what the words plainly say.

The basic idea behind Obamacare is that Americans who don’t have access to health insurance can buy it through a new government agency called an Exchange. Insurance would be “affordable” because the high premiums would be reduced by tax credits based on your income, as determined by the Internal Revenue Service. The catch, though, was that tax credits would only go to people who buy insurance in “an Exchange established by the State.” Without tax credits to subsidize them, the insurance premiums would not be “affordable.”

Under our system of government, the federal government can’t just order the states to do something, but it can entice them with federal dollars. As the architect of Obamacare, Professor Jonathan Gruber, publicly explained, “if you’re a state and you don’t set up an Exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits. … I hope that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these Exchanges, and that they’ll do it.”

But most states didn’t do what Gruber expected. Only 16 states “established” their own Exchanges. Rather than admit that the Obamacare law would forbid providing subsidized insurance in 34 states, the Supreme Court effectively rewrote the law and told the IRS to go ahead and provide tax credits in all 50 states. Thus, Chief Justice John Roberts rescued Obamacare again, basing his decision on what Justice Scalia called a “defense of the indefensible.”

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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