President Obama is pushing for another bailout, not of some bank or automotive company, but for his own signature piece of legislation, ‘Obamacare’. He remarks in Germany earlier in the week made it clear that he is hoping that the Supreme Court will bail him out and rule that people in states using the government exchanges can get subsidies for health care, a ruling that would require the Court members to ignore the plain language of the law. Contrary to what the President would have us believe, they would have to also ignore that portion of the law’s intent, to dissuade the states from opting for the government exchange in favor of one’s they set up themselves.
So in other words, the Obama and the Democrats in Congress were fine with that clause the way it was when they thought that it could be used as a stick to pressure governors into setting up their own state exchanges. Many states didn’t do what the Democrats wanted and forced the Government to create an exchange for them. The stick did not work, but President Obama still wants to give about six million people in those states the carrot, claiming that was the intent of the law the entire time. Problem is, that is not what the law says. The law says to the states, (in one of the few instances where it is clear enough for anyone to understand) that if you don’t set up your own exchanges, your citizens won’t qualify for the subsidy. It is clear that the clause in question was deliberately written that way under the assumption that no governor would risk not letting their constituents get the subsidy by not creating a state exchange. To argue, as the President’s attorneys are doing before the Supreme Court, that this was not the case is disingenuous and intellectually dishonest. They can argue all they want, but Johnathan Gruber, one of the laws creators is already infamously on record saying the intent of the clause was just that, to force governors to set up state exchanges, lest they face the ire of the voters. There is also one other flaw in the President’s argument: There would be no purpose behind having such language included in the law at all if the intent was to allow everyone to receive subsidies as Obama is claiming. It would be an “orphan” clause without impact on any other part of the legislation.
If though, common sence prevails and the Court agrees that the law means what it says and says what it means, that ironically could mean catastrophic success for the Republicans.
If the Supreme Court rules in Obama’s favor, many will throw up their hands and say they give up. (The author of this article being one of them.) If though, common sence prevails and the Court agrees that the law means what it says and says what it means, that ironically could mean catastrophic success for the Republicans. The President has no plan B. Unfortunately, neither does, so it would seem, the Republican Congress. They will be like the dog that after years of chasing after cars, finally actually catches one. To be fair, alternative plans have been floating around the halls of Congress for years, but are any of them ready to go? What about the six million people who are stuck in the middle? Can a stop-gap measure that does right by them, but does not give any vindication to Obamacare’s supporters be crafted in time?
Obama is looking for the SCOTUS to bail him out of this mess, failing that, the Congress. The price the Republicans should demand for this bailout should be the Affordable Care Act itself.