Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon explains here why ObamaCare supporters are showing signs that the Halbig cases could actually succeed.
On October 30 the Cato Institute will host a half-day conference on the Halbig cases. Featured will be two of the plaintiffs: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller. Go here for full agenda.
Cannon explains further here:
This is significant. Ideological critics pooh-pooh Halbig v. Burwell and related cases as “nuisance lawsuits…frivolous.” The health-insurance industry is not so sanguine. Amy Lotven of the trade publication Inside Health Reform reports that before insurers agreed to sell coverage through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s health-insurance Exchanges in 2015, they demanded that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services explicitly agree to let them cancel policies if any of the Halbig cases succeed in blocking the subsidies that carriers had been receiving in the 36 states whose ObamaCare Exchanges were not, as the PPACA’s requires before subsidies can flow, “established by the State.” This is the first indication ObamaCare supporters are worried theHalbig cases could actually succeed, and further demonstrates why the Supreme Court should grant certiorari and expedited consideration to the related case King v. Burwell.
The Internal Revenue Services is currently subsidizing health insurance for about 5 million people in the 36 states that refused or otherwise failed to establish Exchanges themselves. That’s a problem, because the PPACA explicitly, clearly, and repeatedly limits those subsidies to taxpayers who purchase coverage “through an Exchange established by the State.” It’s also a problem because those illegal subsidies end up subjecting some 57 million individuals and employers to illegal penalties under the law’s individual and employer mandates.
The plaintiffs in Halbig and three other cases have challenged those illegal taxes and spending. Two of the three standing judicial opinions (in Halbig and Pruitt v. Burwell) have sided with the plaintiffs. Those courts ruled the Obama administration is breaking the law by taxing, borrowing, and spending billions of dollars contrary to the clear and unambiguous language of the PPACA. Even in the one standing opinion that sided with the government, the Fourth Circuit held in King v. Burwell, “There can be no question that there is a certain sense to the plaintiffs’ position” because “a literal reading of the statute undoubtedly accords more closely with their position,” and the government’s argument was “only slightly” stronger.
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