Last Thursday’s conclusion of the King v Burwell case – the 6-3 decision to uphold Obamacare subsidies – has many democrats literally dancing in the street. On the other side of the fence are those who have noticed the Supreme Court’s blatant favoritism and odd behavior.
“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter. Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid,” said Chief Justice John Roberts as the Supreme Court released its final decision on the King v Burwell case.
Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Representative and Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, says the Court’s ruling is a “grave injustice.” Ryan recently decided not to join the 2016 presidential race. Instead, he wants to focus on his role in the Committee.
“I think Justice Roberts is now counting foul balls as home runs,” says Ryan. Paul Ryan appeared on Face the Nation last Thursday to talk about the issue. He was “shocked” by the Court’s decision to continue awarding subsidies to federal exchange enrollees.
The subsidies in question currently provide about $272 each month to over 8 million Americans to help pay for health insurance.
The 3 Supreme Court justices on the losing side of the vote agree with the actual text of the law, which clearly states that aid is reserved only for exchanges “established by the state.” Only 13 states (and DC) have set up their own insurance exchanges.
Chief Justice Roberts validated his decision by explaining that the Supreme Court must occasionally look beyond the letter of a law to understand its meaning. But this time he’s strayed too far.
Obama is overjoyed that his signature law has been saved once again by the statute’s champion. Roberts saved the law once before in 2012. Justice Scalia jokes that Obamacare should be changed to “SCOTUSCare.”
The argument in King v Burwell was that individuals living in states that had not set up insurance exchanges were not eligible for Obamacare tax subsidies, as the Affordable Care Act plainly states…I guess not plainly enough.
Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the dissenters, is outraged by what his fellow justices have done. “Words no longer have meaning if an exchange that is not established by a state is ‘established by the State,’” he wrote.
Scalia argues that if Obamacare were formulated badly, it’s not the Court’s responsibility to fix it. That’s for Congress to worry about.
Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers continue making plans to kill Obamacare. Unfortunately, this ruling will go down in history as proof that the Supreme Court will do whatever it takes to save its favorite laws and to preserve its reputation.