Courts Have Good News for Obamacare

Ignorant Small Businessman and Useful Conservative Fool David KlemencicThere has been an issue that has been making its way through the courts. Because of some sloppy language in the ACA (Obamacare), it would appear that people who live in a state that has not set up its own healthcare exchange are not qualified for the federal subsidies that are one of the cornerstones of the new law. The fact that people are attacking the law from this position just shows how low conservatives will sink. All it means is that poor and middle class people in red states will be harmed. And it is done simply to make a statement that they don’t like Obama—it really has nothing even to do with the law.

Clearly, this was not the intent of the law, but a pedantic reading of the law would indicate this. So I wasn’t at all surprised to learn this morning of a “2-to-1 ruling by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.” Now that’s not the whole court, so it will undoubtedly be appealed to the full court. And then it will be appealed to the Supreme Court. It didn’t bother me, because I’m actually pretty optimistic (maybe just naive) that the “originalists” on the court will look at the law and say, “Clearly the intent was to provide subsidies for everyone.” What’s more, there seems to me to be issues of equality. A federal law applies differently to you depending upon what state you live in?!

Well, The New York Times reported that within hours, another appeals court ruled the other way, Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings on Health Care Law. According to it, “The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, upheld the subsidies, saying that a rule issued by the Internal Revenue Service was ‘a permissible exercise of the agency’s discretion.'”

The one dissent on the DC panel was Judge Harry Edwards, who said that the only reason for the suit was an “attempt to gut” Obamacare. He also said that the White House’s broader reading of the law was “permissible and reasonable, and, therefore, entitled to deference.” This is pretty much what the Richmond Court found as well.

In a sidebar to the article, there is a quote from David Klemencic, the owner of a carpet store in West Virginia. He is one of the plaintiffs in the case. He said, “If I have to start paying out for health insurance, it will put me out of business.” It’s an interesting thing to say when the case has absolutely nothing to do with his business. But as I said: this is how far conservatives will sink. And this is how ignorant conservatives are, because Obamacare doesn’t apply to Klemencic’s small sole proprietorship. So basically what he’s saying is that even though he doesn’t have to provide healthcare for his employees, he’s really angry that they might be able to get it without his help. (Assuming he even has employees and if he doesn’t, I don’t know what he’s talking about.) There so should be a special level of hell for people like that.

Klemencic also wrote an OpEd in Inc, Why I Am Fighting the Health-Care Law. It’s just a bunch of Republican talking points, ending with, “For me, though, the loss of liberty is Obamacare’s real threat.” Jeez! Based upon some of the statistics he quotes, I assume he either didn’t write it, or got lots of help.

So overall, I’d say this is a good day for Obamacare. It’s even a good day for David Klemencic, although he may never realize it.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Courts Have Good News for Obamacare

  1. I’ve ranted about the ACA for long enough, I might as well continue . . .

    Everything wrong with it, everything that threatens its implementation, is a direct result of Democrats ignoring public opinion. Public opinion supported Medicare-for-all (not politically feasible) and a "public option" (quite feasible.) Even a simpler version of reform regulation (for example, starting slowly by only mandating coverage of existing conditions) would have garnered popular support. And, in every one of those cases, the thing the public wanted would have had immediate, obvious benefits.

    The ACA has immediate benefits, but they are not obvious. Meanwhile the vast shortcomings of health care system remain, and now and for the foreseeable future many, many people will blame those shortcomings on "Obamacare." Thereby discrediting not just the ACA itself but the whole idea that regulation can improve an industry’s service to customers (when it can and in so many ways of our lives does!)

    I really hope you are right, and over time the ACA is seen as more good than bad, and we work to improve the bad things (aka, get rid of private health insurers, for one!) I’ve just had a bad feeling, since the ACA’s passage, that it’s going to set progressive legislation back (at least at the federal level) for decades, because the good it does will be too marginal to outweigh the bad remaining in our system.

    All of which could have been avoided if Democrats actually paid attention to what the public wanted; but that’s not what they do.

  2. @JMF – The Democrats are just as beholden to the rich as the Republicans, they just aren’t as horrible. I hated the ACA when it came out. I’m still not keen on it, but it is definitely better now that it was. Jonathan Bernstein argues that "Obamacare" will never be popular because so few people know what it is. Kids can stay on parents’ policies until they are 25? Great, but they won’t give Obamacare credit for it. And so on.

    But you see: the conservatives are so good at being against everything that they wear people down. We’re still fighting to keep the law alive, when we should be fighting to improve it. But history shows, it is a lot easier to destroy than to create. And the modern Republican Party is now Death, the destroyer of worlds.

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