The Supreme Court is going to face the O’Care ball in a steady stream of lawsuits against a complex web of subsidies and penalties that are the heart of the Affordable Care Act. Here, the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro explains that “the issue is whether the executive branch spent billions of taxpayer dollars and subjected millions of people to taxes without any authority to do so.”
“To paraphrase Joe Biden,” Mr. Shapiro writes, “that’s a big deal.”
Make no mistake: Regardless of what happens in Halbig, there will almost certainly be a circuit split for the Supreme Court to contend with. The only question is whether the D.C. Circuit will enable its superior to avoid that day of reckoning for another year or two, allowing the justices to kick the Obamacare can down the road.
Of course, all this is the direct consequence of three developments that we’ve seen too often in recent years: first, an overly complicated law rammed through Congress without serious consideration and against the will of the people; second, a politicized IRS that implements administration policy over the recommendations of career civil servants; and third, a White House that believes it gets more power when “Congress won’t act,” never mind that Congress is fully ready to reopen the health care legislation.
It’s too late in the day for the D.C. Circuit to fix this mess. The ball is again in the Supreme Court.