Showing posts with label King v Burwell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label King v Burwell. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Words Used to Mean Things – Then Came Government

Seton Motley | Red State |
We are a nation founded upon and (allegedly) governed by words. Beginning with – specifically, foundational-ly – the Constitution. Every syllable was by our Founding Fathers debated and carefully crafted. To ensure a limited, enumerated government, maximum freedom for We the People – and a document that clearly, concisely laid out these parameters.
The Constitution is a “living, breathing document” – but with the amendment process as its only respiratory system. If you don’t like it – amend it. Otherwise, it is what it is – it says what it says.
The Constitution established a system that also relies on precise language. The Legislative Branch writes legislation – that must be within government’s Constitutional parameters. Every syllable is debated and carefully crafted. And since we directly elect this Branch’s members, we get to have a direct say in the words meant to lord over us. We get to lobby Congress to redress our grievances – to help shape the words they write.
We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it” is an unbelievably heinous dereliction of Congressional, Constitutional duty.
When passed, legislation is then sent for signature to the Executive Branch – a President we also elect. If the President signs, the panoply of departments, agencies, commissions and boards then implement it. Though these entities exist in the Executive – they are creations and creatures of the Legislative. They would not exist without law first creating them. They can not do anything unless and until the Legislative with law tells them to do it. And they are bound to adhere to the spirit and the letters of these laws – and to remain within their parameters. The words passed must be the words implemented – no more, no less.
As we’ve seen for decades – and on steroids during the Barack Obama Administration – the huge regulatory apparatus has made rocketing past its limits standard operating procedure. Overreaches, fiats, diktats – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)Health and Human Services (HHS)et cetera ad nauseum. Written words – ignored and eviscerated in favor of ideological impositions.
All of which is why there is a Judicial Branch. The Judicial is in the strict-Constitutional-limits-enforcement business. They are to ensure that the laws written – and the government they create – exist within Constitutional bounds. Justices and judges are unelected to avoid political influence – which only works if they remain unpolitical, within their Constitutional bounds. If they write legislative words rather than merely analyze them – reworking laws into new meanings and mandates – we have (yet more) problems.
In the Supreme Court’s King v Burwell decision, six of its nine Justices green-lit yet another huge Obama Administration overreach. By pretending – and allowing HHS to continue to pretend – that plain words don’t mean plain things.

Friday, July 3, 2015

[VIDEO] Supreme Court May Have Saved Obamacare, but It Doomed Young Americans’ Health Care Options

Six Americans in black robes have, yet again, saved the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from a major crisis, but the most important part of this story for young people is their atrocious ruling will cause significant problems for the nation’s youngest and healthiest citizens.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in the highly anticipated case King v. Burwell, pictures of young Americans celebrating at rallies in Washington, DC flooded the Internet and newspapers across the country. Nothing could be more ironic. Since the ACA was first implemented in 2013, prices for all health care insurance consumers have skyrocketed, but price increases have been particularly shocking for people between 18 and 35 years old.
According to a study by HealthPocket, Inc., the average pre-Obamacare premium cost in 2013 for women 23 years old increased by nearly 45 percent in 2014. Women age 30 saw price increases topping 35 percent.
While cost increases for women under age 31 were higher than the increases experienced by men (22.7 percent) and women age 63 (37.5 percent), their price increases were significantly lower than young men. Prices increased by 78.2 percent for men 23 years old and by 73.4 percent for men age 30.
If young Americans’ health care costs composed a significant portion of U.S. health care spending, these price increases might make some sense, but young people, especially young men, are the healthiest demographic in the nation. As John Graham pointed out in his article in Forbes, an analysis by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners says health care costs for 63-year-olds is five times greater than spending on 22-year-olds.
President Barack Obama’s frequent call for all people to “pay their fair share” apparently doesn’t apply to middle-aged and older Americans.

Monday, June 29, 2015


The GOP-majority Supreme Court saved President Barack Obama’s bacon Thursday with a political ruling that papered over his signature Affordable Care Act. Writing for the majority in the 6-3 King v. Burwell decision, Chief Justice John Roberts noted that the 900-page law was written behind closed doors with little debate or amendment and thus was “inartfully” drafted. It was the court’s obligation, he wrote, to translate bill language limiting the government subsidies to enrollees in “an exchange established by the State” as meaning enrollees in federal exchanges also can get subsidies.

Roberts always has been a consummate politician in his role as guardian of the big bench. The President George W. Bush appointee had good reason to fear how the public might react if the Supreme Court overturned a law that benefits millions of Americans.
Thirty-four states rely on federal Obamacare exchanges. That’s 6 million people, 87 percent of whom bought health care with federal tax credits. Roberts cited a study that predicted that cutting off those subsidies would result in a 47 percent increase in premiums and a 70 percent decline in enrollment.

Between a rock and a hard place, Roberts argued that Congress surely never meant to cut out subsidies in states without their own exchanges, because “it would destabilize the individual insurance market in any State with a Federal Exchange, and likely create the very ‘death spirals’ that Congress designed the Act to avoid.”

I sympathize, but Roberts has to know he’s wrong. Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist who advised the White House, explained during a 2012 speech that the federal law limited subsidies to enrollees of state exchanges in order to “squeeze” states to act. Quoth Gruber, “If you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits, but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill.”
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley — no conservative he — wrote last year, “I believe that the text is clear in the Act and that the Obama Administration effectively altered the language when 34 states decided to defy the government and refuse to create state exchanges.”

Via: The American Spectator

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

[COMMENTARY] Obamacare wins one, America loses

The Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday in King v. Burwell has temporarily saved the Affordable Care Act, but millions of Americans are still hurting under Obamacare. The high court’s six-justice majority agreed that the IRS can change the wording of the law to the administration’s liking. No one, however, can change that Obamacare is an expensive failure — unpopular, unworkable and unaffordable.
Obamacare enrollees are facing double-digit premium increases, the opposite of what they were promised. The president’s health-care law was supposed to “bend the cost curve” — and it has, in the wrong direction. Obamacare piled mandates on the insurance industry while drastically increasing uncertainty in the market. Early on, insurers were working with incomplete data when setting rates. They didn’t know how sick or expensive their millions of new enrollees would be. Now they have a better idea and are proposing enormous rate hikes — 30 percent or more in states such as in Maryland, Tennessee and New Mexico.
Commentary: Obamacare wins one, America loses photo
The president has two options: He can ignore these staggering numbers and let the Obamacare juggernaut roll forward. Or he can sit down with Republicans and find ways to offer relief to hardworking Americans.
President Obama should welcome a full airing of ideas. The health care law still lacks the support of most Americans. A June 8 poll by the Washington Post and ABC News put support for Obamacare at 39 percent and opposition at 54 percent. Is it any wonder? The bill was written behind closed doors, with no real discussion of opposing views, and passed on a party-line vote. The plan was far too complicated, with too many mandates and penalties. It was never designed to increase choice and lower prices. The subsidies to buy insurance served only to hide the true costs.
One of the main arguments the law’s defenders made in King v. Burwell was that if the subsidies at issue were struck down, another 6 million Americans would find health care too expensive. In other words, they cannot afford insurance without government help. That is a clear sign that the law has failed to rein in costs and should be replaced.
It’s time for the president to focus on addressing the real problems with this law. Republicans have good ideas about how to lower costs, improve access and help Americans lead healthier lives.

Friday, June 26, 2015

SCOTUS Obamacare Ruling Is an Attack on the Rule of Law

The United States Supreme Court today announced its decision on the landmark Affordable Care Act case, King v. Burwell, which analyzed whether federal premium subsidies issued to residents in states without a state-established exchange are allowable.
The Court ruled that subsidies provided through are indeed lawful, meaning that the federal exchange, which was hastily built after most states refused to build their own exchange, can continue issuing subsidies. This was not how the Affordable Care Act was written.
This disastrous decision is a terrible attack on the rule of law because it sends the message that the rule of law does not matter; whoever has the most power, the strongest attorneys and the biggest voice wins. Without the rule of law, it becomes the rule of power—all up to interpretation. Claims of intent and outside interpretations of intent will now rule, not the actual words written in the law. When we start allowing the loose interpretation of law based on after-the-fact claims of intent, the foundation of the rule of law crumbles.
Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom has been educating Americans for five years about the dangers of Obamacare, which is expensive, intrusive, compromises care and ties the hands of doctors.
Sadly, the Court did not rule on what is actually written in the law. And sadder still, the ruling means that citizens in 37 states, including the 6.5 million Americans receiving Obamacare subsidies, didn’t regain their health freedom today. They will remain trapped in a government health care system of mandates and penalties that does not work, doesn’t look out for their best interests, makes health care unaffordable, and puts their private medical data at risk.
This was an opportunity to save America from Obamacare—to protect their freedoms from government mandates, taxes and penalties, fewer jobs, work hours that have been cut to the bone, and lower wages. But that chance was squandered.
Twila Brase is president and co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF,, a Minnesota-based national organization dedicated to preserving patient-centered health care and protecting patient and privacy rights. Celebrating its 20th year, CCHF exists to protect health care choices and patient privacy. Brase, a registered nurse, has been called one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Health Care” and one of “Minnesota’s 100 Most Influential Health Care Leaders.”

The Supreme Court Obamacare RX Leaves Doctors and Patients Confused

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 25:  People celebrate in front of the US Supreme Court after ruling was announced on the Affordable Care Act. June 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. The high court ruled that the Affordable Care Act may provide nationwide tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people buy health insurance.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 25: People celebrate in front of the US Supreme Court after ruling was announced on the Affordable Care Act. June 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. The high court ruled that the Affordable Care Act may provide nationwide tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people buy health insurance. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
The Supreme Court just ruled in favor by a 6-3 margin to uphold the Obamacare authorization of federal tax credits for eligible Americans in the 34 states with federal exchanges.
How did this all begin? The case, King v. Burwell, debated whether or the not the Obama Administration ignored aspects of the law regarding provided taxpayer-funded subsidies to Obamacare purchasers in all 50 states, when the law stated this could only happen in the few states that had set up their own exchange. It’s all quite technical, but the main point is upholding Obamacare further confuses doctors and patients, and we’re left with many other issues that haven’t been firmly addressed.
I advocate for my patients every day and I see their frustration and confusion when it comes to their actual coverage under Obamacare as well as the higher deductible. As a specialist in the field of prostate cancer, I observe three major issues with Obamacare.
  1. Narrow Networks: What many patients are unaware of (often until the last minute, or a serious need has arisen) is the massive limitation to the number of doctors, specifically specialists, they are “covered” under. Arguably, patients may find they have no access to the most experienced doctors and surgeons in their respective fields. If you’re someone diagnosed with Prostate Cancer or any cancer, you want the best care and to be in the best hands. Imagine if your insurance limits you from seeing the expert? Obamacare has put into effect extremely narrow networks of doctors, patients have access too, which leads to the question: Is this denying the freedom the patient’s right to choose their own doctor or specialist? The reality is, not every doctor or specialist is going to take every insurance under the sun. With these limitations, Obamacare diminishes the value of experts across many fields.
  2. Satisfaction Survey Scores Puts Pressure on Doctors: One of the major issues with regards to Obamacare mandates is the pressure put on hospitals from Medicare, specifically for patient satisfaction surveys. Now, it’s important for me to note that I appreciate all the feedback, good or bad, that my patients give me. It’s not specifically about the direct feedback; it’s about the penalties and variables that affect the patient’s actual survey answers, and the timing of when they’re presented with these surveys. Imagine, you’ve just had surgery, you’re in pain and you ask your surgeon for pain medications. Based on your surgeon’s experience and judgment, he or she believes it’s not the best medication for you at that moment in the process. As the patient, you feel frustrated—and then you’re handed a survey? You haven’t even fully recovered and in that moment you’re expected to judge all the healthcare professionals you’ve worked with. The art of medicine is compromised. I always say, the PSA blood test for Prostate Cancer screening is only as good as the doctor evaluating it. Doctors need to be able to work one-on-one with their patients, without the added pressure of survey scores and ratings that have little insight into the entire patient experience.
  3. Quality of Care Rating: The fact is you cannot put a number on quality of care. There are far too many factors and variables that affect one patient’s experience and the quality of care they received from another. The 1-5 star rating mandate from Medicare based on patient satisfaction scores—which stemmed from Obamacare—in April is a cause for concern because hospitals are massive entities. How is it possible to slap a one-digit number on the front door of a hospital, which sums up the rating for the work of thousands of healthcare professionals, along with millions of varied patient cases? It’s simple, we can’t.
Dr. Samadi is the chairman of urology and chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel and the chief medical correspondent for AM970 in New York City.

House bill would force the Supreme Court to enroll in ObamaCare

SCOTUS, ObamaCare, SCOTUScare
A House Republican on Thursday proposed forcing the Supreme Court justices and their staff to enroll in ObamaCare.
Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) said that his SCOTUScare Act would make all nine justices and their employees join the national healthcare law’s exchanges.
“As the Supreme Court continues to ignore the letter of the law, it’s important that these six individuals understand the full impact of their decisions on the American people,” he said.
“That’s why I introduced the SCOTUScare Act to require the Supreme Court and all of its employees to sign up for ObamaCare,” Babin said.
Babin’s potential legislation would only let the federal government provide healthcare to the Supreme Court and its staff via ObamaCare exchanges.
“By eliminating their exemption from ObamaCare, they will see firsthand what the American people are forced to live with,” he added.
His move follows the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday morning that upheld the subsidies under ObamaCare that are provided by the government to offset the cost of buying insurance.
The 6-3 decision, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, said consumers purchasing health insurance from the federal exchange in roughly 34 states could continue to do so.
The ruling in King v. Burwell has spurred anger on the right, with conservatives questioning the logic of the decision.
“They deserve an Olympic medal for the legal gymnastics,” Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, told The Hill. 

King v. Burwell Decision Doesn’t Change That Obamacare Remains Unworkable, Unaffordable and Unpopular

Today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the administration to allow Obamacare subsidies to flow through This is a disappointment for the rule of law and for the states that have fought to keep some of Obamacare’s flawed policies out of their states.
While the administration and Obamacare supporters attempt to convince the American people that it is now smooth sailing for Obamacare, nothing could be further from the truth.
Despite the decision, the problems with Obamacare are real and not getting better. The law’s flawed foundation continues to make Obamacare unworkable, unaffordable and unpopular.
As my colleague Ed Haislmaier skillfully points out, “The complexity and cascade of adverse effects are the inescapable byproducts of major flaws in the legislation’s basic design.” For instance, the complexity of the tax credits has resulted in two-thirds of those receiving subsidies, having to repay some portion of the subsidies they received, according to H&R Block.
Nothing in the court’s ruling will change this moving forward. Each year individuals wishing to claim a subsidy will have to estimate their income for the year in advance. Any miscalculation, specifically underestimating their income, necessitates a repayment to the IRS.
Removing ACA Regulations Would Reduce Premiums in These 34 States
In King v Burwell, the Supreme Court could decide that ACA subsidies are no longer available to individuals in the 34 states that chose not to set up a state exchange. Americans affected by such a decision will need access to more affordable coverage. Select above to see how much you could save if Congress removed the ACA insurance regulations that are driving up the cost of coverage.
Today, a majority of the Supreme Court chose to overlook the clear language of the statute. As Justice Antonin Scalia noted in his dissent it is “quite absurd” that Congress meant to allow subsidies in the exchange established by the federal government when it expressly limited those subsides to state-run exchanges. This flawed ruling allows the administration to continue making the law, rather than enforcing it.

The law continues to be unaffordable for everyday Americans. Obamacare’s costly insurance regulations have made coverage more expensive. The Supreme Court’s decision to allow the subsidies to flow through only helps a few million people pay for coverage leaving millions more facing higher, not lower, health care costs.
Even now, double digit rate increasesare being submitted for 2016. These trends fuel the mounting budgetary pressures facing the law, as my colleagues Robert Moffit and Pat Knudsen have well documented.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


The rule of law was formally put out to pasture by the Supreme Court on Thursday, as we discovered that the plain text of a law matters less than what the party in power thinks it should mean.

On a 6-3 vote in the King v. Burwell case, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy joining the liberal bloc vote of Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, the Court decided to allow the federal ObamaCare exchanges to continue distributing taxpayer subsidies for health insurance, even though the Affordable Care Act explicitly reserves those subsidies for state exchanges, and there is ample evidence the authors of ObamaCare knew what they were doing when they inserted that language into the law.
They simply changed their minds later, when the political ground shifted. Most states didn’t set up exchanges, several those which did abandoned them, and cutting off the ObamaCare subsidies could have scuttled the entire scheme.
Much of the punditry on both Left and Right leading up to the decision assumed the Court would nix the federal subsidies, sticking congressional Republicans with the outrageous burden of saving a law none of them voted for. (Let’s be honest: after watching the new Republican majority in action, it’s highly likely that they would have done so, with minimal political pain for the Democrats.) If the Internet is running a bit slow today, it’s probably because ten thousand “What the GOP Must Do to Save ObamaCare Now” articles are being deleted.
Justice Antonin Scalia, in dissent, growled that ObamaCare should be called “SCOTUSCare” now, because the Supreme Court has rewritten it twice to keep it alive. It should go without saying that this is not how the American system of government was supposed to work.
The majority decision actually does make it clear this is a pure exercise of political power. Chief Justice John Roberts writes, after reviewing the debate over what the “exchange established by the state” language means:
The upshot of all this is that the phrase “an Exchange established by the State under [42 U. S. C. §18031]” is properly viewed as ambiguous. The phrase may be limited in its reach to State Exchanges. But it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal—at least for purposes of the tax credits. If a State chooses not to follow the directive in Section 18031 that it establish an Exchange, the Act tells the Secretary to establish “such Exchange.” §18041. And by using the words “such Exchange,” the Act indicates that State and Federal Exchanges should be the same. But State and Federal Exchanges would differ in a fundamental way if tax credits were available only on State Exchanges—one type of Exchange would help make insurance more affordable by providing billions of dollars to the States’ citizens; the other type of Exchange would not.

What an amazing pile of drivel, so utterly unworthy of the Supreme Court. And what a dangerous precedent to set for the final destruction of the American system of limited powers and equal branches of government. The proper remedy for a poorly-written “ambiguous” law is to send it back to the legislature to fix it, not let a block of liberal justices declare that ambiguous language is the gateway to even greater power.
Via: Breitbart
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Is the Obamacare Fight Over? - 15 health care wonks weigh in.

The Supreme Court today upheld a key provision in the Affordable Care Act, ruling 6 to 3 in King v. Burwell to maintain federal subsidies for state exchanges. Politico Magazine asked leading thinkers in health care policy for their take on the future of the ACA and American health care. Is Obamacare here to stay? What will happen to the exchanges? And most important: Is the legal and political fight over?
Larry Kramer, president of the Hewlett Foundation and former dean of Stanford Law School

That this case was even in the Supreme Court is an embarrassment for the Court—and a sign of how ideological and politicized the federal bench has become. That we had to wait with bated breath to see whether a majority of the Justices would uphold this ridiculous challenge is an even bigger embarrassment and worse sign. At no other time in U.S. history would a challenge this frivolous to a law of this significance have been close, even for Justices whose politics were opposed to those of the President and Congress that enacted the law.

6-3 is better than 5-4, and it’s certainly better than a result the other way. But something is deeply wrong when the nation has to sit on pins and needles to see whether a couple of lawyers will give their blessing to our most important laws. Cases like this underscore the deeply problematic nature of the role the Supreme Court has come to play in American society.

In celebrating that the Justices reached what was (to any fair minded person) an obvious result, we legitimize the idea that it is okay for them to play this role and so empower them to take over more and more of the space properly reserved for self government and democratic politics. The people who founded this nation did not fight and die to replace a monarchy with an oligarchy.

Huckabee: SCOTUS Obamacare Decision ‘Out-of-Control Act of Judicial Tyranny’

As soon as the news of the King v. Burwell decision broke, 2016 GOP candidate Mike Huckabee published his reaction on his official blog. And just in case not enough people were paying attention, he decided to get a little ranty on Twitter as well.
The first indication of Huckabee’s impending opinion came in the form of a 139-character attack on the current Supreme Court justices and the judicial branch at large.
There isn't a 'do-over’ provision in our Constitution that allows unelected, SCOTUS judges power to circumvent Congress & rewrite bad laws.
Of course, his “do-over” jab wasn’t going to be enough, so he wrote a much longer blog post about it. From the very beginning, Huckabee makes his stance clear when he calls the King v. Burwell decision “an out-of-control act of judicial tyranny.” He then spends the rest of the first paragraph nit-picking the SCOTUS’s announcement, but quickly leaves it behind for a second paragraph filled with a “what I will fix as president” campaign message:
Everywhere I go, I talk to American families who keep getting punched in the gut with outrageous insurance premiums and infuriating hospital bills. ObamaCare was railroaded through Congress to ‘solve’ our healthcare problems, but five years later, American families are getting railroaded by runaway mandates, big government bureaucracy, and out-of-control healthcare costs. ObamaCare is a $2.2 trillion Washington disaster that raided billions from Medicare and did nothing to fix our broken system of ‘sick care,’ which rewards irresponsibility and penalizes commonsense.  As President, I will protect Medicare, repeal ObamaCare, and pass real reform that will actually lower costs, while focusing on cures and prevention rather than intervention. The status quo is unfair, unaffordable, unsustainable, and completely un-American.
But this is all part of a campaign, so of course the Huckster wasn’t done.
has NO authority to rescue Congress from creating bad law. ruling is an out-of-control act of judicial tyranny.
Not gonna lie. I kind of miss Fox News’ Huckabee. Kind of.

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