Supreme Court rules in favor of Obamacare

131104112250-obamacare-promises-620xa(Which is a bit of a “Suck it” to the hordes of naysayers who’ve been trying to kill it to replace it with the system we’ve had forever that really wasn’t working all that hot, anyway.)

In a vote of 6-3, the Supreme Court shot down a challenge that would have (from the link):

erased subsidies in at least 34 states for individuals and families buying insurance through the federal government’s online marketplace. Such a result would have made coverage unaffordable for millions and created price spirals for those who kept their policies, many experts predicted.

This is the second Supreme Court challenge to the Affordable Care Act in three years. Do the ACA’s opponents have anything else on their minds?

You can read the opinion here. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion.

And thanks, Leftover, for the link.

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18 Comments

  1. Still reading but…
    Scalia is displeased. And not totally without cause considering his position(s) on the first ruling. It’s kind of refreshing, actually, to witness such pointed dissent within the conservative block.

    Here to stay? Seeing that it’s business as usual…probably. We’re just lucky that way.

    ObamaCare® is working? You Betcha! No doubt about it.

  2. This doesn’t end anti-ObamaCare® activism in Congress:

    The 2016 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill from a House subcommittee… bars the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from using any funds to implement health reform. This would shut down the federally run health insurance marketplaces and cause millions of people to lose financial assistance in obtaining coverage, as well as end HHS enforcement of rules that protect health insurance consumers and patients.
    CBPP/House Bill Slices Billions From Education and Health

    Neither does it end ObamaCare®’s inherent fiscal problems, or the persisting problems of affordability, and implementation.

    Conservative/libertarian commentator Peter Suderman observed Monday:

    Obamacare is an exceedingly complex, poorly drafted law built atop the shaky superstructure of the existing, deeply fragmented American health system, with its separate tracks for individual, employer and government-run coverage. A better plan could sweep away much of the old mess and begin to unify the system: It would expand coverage and access to care by making it truly cheaper for everyone instead of increasing the cost and adding subsidies, and it would free American medicine from its current tangle of price controls, provider rules and patient regulations while reducing the government’s long-term fiscal problems in ways that don’t rely on uncertain savings from dubious technocratic payment systems. 

    But Republicans can’t make the case for that plan because they’ve never figured out what it would look like.

    Apparently…neither does Suderman. Maybe they should ask somebody.

    The Next Step

  3. I am amazed at the SCOTUS dissent regarding the ACA decision. Why? Because the argument against the ACA was based on some ambiguous wording in one sentence. Although the sentence itself may not have been ambiguous if considered alone, in the context of the entire ACA it certainly would not justify the interpretation that the plaintiffs sought.

    When courts interpret laws they generally use a set of rules developed over centuries of judicial decisions; they are often called the “rules of statutory construction.” One of the most important rules in that category is the one requiring the court to consider the entire statute, to determine what the intent of the statute was, and then to interpret specific parts of the statute with that intent in mind. Part of that idea is that a court should not struggle to interpret a statute in such a way as to make the statute fail.

    1. Michael F. Cannon, “the intellectual father” of King v. Burwell, on the ruling :

      There was no dissent about the plain meaning of the phrase “through an Exchange established by the State.” All seven of the other Justices joined one of those two opinions. Nor was there dissent about the fact that that phrase, used repeatedly in the statute, is the only provision of the Act that speaks directly to the question presented. Not a single Justice lent credence to the government’s assertions that this was a meritless case, or one that the Court should never have accepted. Nor was there dissent about the consequences of that provision’s plain meaning in the face of broad state resistance to the ACA. All agreed that withholding tax credits in the thirty-four states with federal exchanges could lead to adverse selection in those states, with premiums climbing higher and higher in a “death spiral.”

      Where disagreement emerged was over the question of whether the former should alter the latter – whether the potential for adverse consequences “compels” the Court to disregard the universally acknowledged meaning of the operative text. The Court split six to three in favor of rewriting plain text, and rendering the requirement “established by the State” a nullity. The Chief Justice wrote for the majority, Scalia for the dissent. The effect of the ruling is that this and future administrations must do what everyone agrees the plain meaning of the operative text does not permit: spend hundreds of billions of dollars and tax 70 million employers and individuals in those thirty-four states.

      See also George Will here and the definition of the Chevron Deference, (the applicable jurisprudence on statutory interpretation), here.

    2. If you want to check out some questionable…and strange…dissent, check out Clarence Thomas’ dissents in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project…the FHA/disparate impact case…(apparently all the civil rights laws over the last 50 years need to be overturned because there’s more Blacks than Whites in the NBA)…and his dissent in Obergefell, (same sex couples are not being robbed of any dignity by being denied legal marriage because African American slaves weren’t robbed of their dignity by being, you know, slaves).

      Scalia I get…except for the insults and unseemly behavior…but I truly think Thomas has lost his fucking mind.

      1. The whole thing about Thomas’ dissent on this particular case — where he says slavery did not rob those people who were enslaved of their dignity — signals to me that Thomas is ready for a lawn chair in the back yard, maybe some iced tea, and a Grit magazine with which to entertain himself.

        1. Kennedy’s eloquence in Obergefell, his skill in the FHA case, (which isn’t the “liberal win” its being portrayed as in the media), and Roberts’ skill in King, (a neoliberal win), makes some dissents appear more like internet comment box pomposity than principled opposition.

          1. I read a couple of headlines in my New York Times today that made me wince, over that “liberal win.” It’s wrong and wrong-headed to call any of this that.

            1. I think a lot of people in the media consider anything that makes Scalia, et. al. nettled…or Obama et. al. chirpy…a “liberal win.”

              1. True. And I’ve seen this most recent week referred to as “Obama’s best week ever,” which I think misses the point, too.

                1. Yeah….I think “ever” is a bit of a stretch…but it has been a good week for him politically. Approval/Disapproval numbers didn’t wind up noticeably different from last week…trade deal headlines disappeared…some pretty good media PR overall.

                  I do think, though, that while Obergefell wasn’t exactly a victory for him personally, it was a “liberal” victory. Extending 14th Amendment protections to a minority has to be counted as a liberal win. More of a victory for LGBT activists, really. We’ll have to wait and see if they can keep up the momentum in the face of the Jindals and Huckabees and the “religious freedom” extremists…and hope the backlash doesn’t get too severe.

                    1. I read this morning Alabama, Louisiana and possibly Texas are going to stop issuing marriage licenses…to anybody. One jurisdiction in Alabama already has. With the blessings of “libertarian” Rand Paul.

                      All in the name of protecting religious freedom.

                    2. When we all look back at this in 10 years, maybe 20, these folks aren’t going to be on the side of the righteous.

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