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Open thread: Obamacare renamed ‘SCOTUScare’ for good reason

By Doug Powers  •  June 25, 2015 08:33 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

The Supreme Court’s decision which found that federal subsidies for states that choose not to set up their own Obamacare exchanges are legal was announced Thursday. To get a look at the incentives states now have to run their own exchanges, go to a dark room, close your eyes, and what do you see?

The SCOTUS decision had the Obamacare fanatics dancing outside the Supreme Court with such energy you’d think they raised the age “kids” can stay on their parents’ plans up to 45:

That was an interpretive ballet titled “A Midsummer Night’s Premium Increase for Mom and Dad.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled on the intent of the people who wrote the law and not on the way the law was actually phrased:

[I]n every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan.

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. Section 36B can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress’s plan, and that is the reading we adopt.

Just what we need — laws graded on an “intent” curve by a judicial branch interpreting congressional crayon scribblings. It’s not as if Congress needs more incentive to be sloppy and not read the bills they vote on. Why even bother to write the damn laws down in the first place?

For Roberts’ next trick, he’ll interpret those millions of policy cancellation letters as “good news” based on the intent of the “if you like your plan you can keep it” promise.

Justice Scalia called out the “intent” explanation in his dissent:

The case itself centered on language in the original law that technically limited subsidies to people buying insurance in exchanges set up by the states. Opponents said this made subsidies through the federal exchange invalid.

“You would think the answer would be obvious — so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it,” Scalia wrote.

The majority, though, upheld subsidies everywhere, arguing that is what Congress intended.

Scalia in his dissent scolded his colleagues’ handling of Affordable Care Act challenges, writing, “We should just start calling this law SCOTUScare,” referring to the several times the high court has ruled on controversial parts of ObamaCare.

At one point, he panned the majority’s reasoning as “pure applesauce.”

Scalia essentially made two major points: he accused the court of playing favorites by letting politics get in the way, and claimed the majority’s opinion contained “somersaults of statutory interpretation.”

The conservative justice attacked the logic behind the ruling as “interpretive jiggery-pokery” and said the result shows “words no longer have meaning.”

He wrote: “The Court forgets that ours is a government of laws and not of men. That means we are governed by the terms of our laws, not by the unenacted will of our lawmakers.”

Republicans can still get rid of Obamacare, which will collapse under its own weight when reality kicks in way after many of the politicians who passed it are out of office (by design), but that’ll require winning the White House and holding Congress. But then again, even if Obamacare were ever to be repealed with a GOP president and willing GOP Congress, who’s to say SCOTUS wouldn’t say the repeal was illegal. After all, repeal wasn’t the “intent” of the law’s proponents.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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Categories: Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Media, Media Bias