TX Republican Babin Introduces ‘SCOTUSCare Act’

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 10.52.52 AM

BY STEPHEN KRUISER

A Texas Republican is taking aim at the Supreme Court after its 6-3 decision upholding Obamacare subsidies with a new bill requiring the justices and their aides to purchase coverage on the law’s exchanges.

Rep. Brian Babin is seeking co-sponsors for the bill, titled the “SCOTUScare Act of 2015” — which refers to a quip from Justice Antonin Scalia’s scathing dissent.

“As the Supreme Court continues to ignore the letter of the law, it’s important that these nine individuals understand the full impact of their decisions on the American people,” the freshman Republican said in a statement. “By eliminating their exemption from Obamacare, they will see firsthand what the American people are forced to live with!”

Sure, it’s political theater, but so is most of what goes on in Washington. At least this is grandstanding that makes a little point.

It also identifies at least one Republican who gets it.

Side note: as John Roberts uses Obamacare to flush America down history’s toilet, Antonin Scalia may be the last great conservative folk hero.

Love Her or Hate Her, Ann Coulter Warned Us About John Roberts 10 Years Ago

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 10.47.43 AM

BY STEPHEN KRUISER

After conservatives took another gut punch from black-robed Obamacare cheerleader Chief Justice John Roberts, many of us were left wondering just what in the heck is wrong with this guy. After all, these Republican appointees to the Supreme Court are supposed to be on our side, right? They can’t all be David Souter.

It turns out that Ann Coulter sniffed another Souter-esque betrayal in the offing ten years ago:

PJM_300_by_250_middle

Expanding…

After pretending to consider various women and minorities for the Supreme Court these past few weeks, President Bush decided to disappoint all the groups he had just ginned up and nominate a white male.

So all we know about him for sure is that he can’t dance and he probably doesn’t know who Jay-Z is. Other than that, he is a blank slate. Tabula rasa. Big zippo. Nada. Oh, yeah … We also know he’s argued cases before the Supreme Court. Big deal; so has Larry Flynt’s attorney.

But unfortunately, other than that that, we don’t know much about John Roberts. Stealth nominees have never turned out to be a pleasant surprise for conservatives. Never. Not ever.

I know it is all the rage in this era of hypersensitive feelings for some conservatives, and almost all moderate Republicans, to bristle at everything Coulter says and be dismissive of her because she has a knack for tossing out an outrageous headline-grabbing comment. Here’s the thing about her: she’s right a lot of the time.

Sure, I’ve got to deduct a lot of points for her flip-flop to become a Romney champion in 2012 but a lot of people were drunk on wishful thinking then (present company excluded). Other than that, she makes a lot of sense.

So maybe pay just a little more attention to her from now on.

And pray that Antonin Scalia lives to be 148.

SCOTUS grants Obama another gift, ignores the English language to uphold ObamaCare subsidies

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 3.23.32 PM

A big win for people who hate the fact that words have meanings.

And that’s that. Obama, as usual, gets his way. It was predictable, really. Having abandoned the meaning of words within the English language, the Supreme Court is now free to ignore the actual text of laws and pretend things were written that never were.

As the AP reports:

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

The justices said in a 6-3 ruling that the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, under the 2010 health care law.

The outcome is the second major victory for Obama in politically charged Supreme Court tests of his most significant domestic achievement. It came the same day the court gave the administration an unexpected victory by preserving a key tool the administration uses to fight housing bias.

John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, which stated that the law was upheld because:

Here, the statutory scheme compels the Court to reject petitioners’ interpretation because it would destabilize the individual insurance market in any State with a Federal Exchange, and likely create the very “death spirals” that Congress designed the Act to avoid. Under petitioners’ reading, the Act would not work in a State with a Federal Exchange. As they see it, one of the Act’s three major reforms—the tax credits—would not apply. And a second major reform—the coverage requirement—would not apply in a meaningful way, because so many individuals would be exempt from the requirement without the tax credits. If petitioners are right, therefore, only one of the Act’s three major reforms would apply in States with a Federal Exchange.

So far, he has a pretty good handle on things. This is precisely what the law was written to do. As we know, the withholding of federal subsidies was explicitly designed to pressure states into setting up exchanges. It’s a shame he doesn’t stop there, because he completely blows it in the next sentence by inventing an “intent” that never existed.

The combination of no tax credits and an ineffective coverage requirement could well push a State’s individual insurance market into a death spiral. It is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate in this manner.

So forget about what the law was designed to do. None of that matters, since the court isn’t concerned with pesky things like, say, “the actual text of the law.”

Roberts admits that the ACA “contains more than a few examples of “inartful drafting,” which we assume is now a synonym for “words you can ignore if you want to grant the federal government unending expansive power.”

In the dissenting opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia railed against the court’s now long-standing habit of re-writing the law to keep it in effect:

Having transformed two major parts of the law, the Court today has turned its attention to a third. The Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available only on an “Exchange established by the State.” This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.

Democrats are, obviously, celebrating the fact that the country’s pre-eminent piece of crony-capitalist legislation will remain intact. Sadly, I suspect they’re not the only ones. I believe that the majority of the GOP is just as happy as their alleged opposition.

There are now three types of Republicans in Congress.

Group one is the smallest, and is comprised of the select few who actually care about the Constitution.
Group two is somewhat bigger. These people don’t really care about anything as long as they continue to get the perks of their office and don’t have to take any tough political stands.
Group three is the largest. It’s controlled by the party elites and boasts the current Congressional leadership among its members. They’re big-government expansionists who are every bit as guilty as Democrats when it comes to growing the size, scope, and debt of the federal government.
Groups two and three love this ruling. Even if the decision had gone the other way, they were probably going to implement an administration-friendly workaround. This saves them time and effort by removing a difficult PR battle from their plates, while simultaneously maintaining an unsustainable law which – someday soon – will need to be propped up by expanded taxation and increased federal power.

Since that’s what seems to pass for win-win in the modern Republican party, we can only assume they’re breathing a sigh of relief after today’s ruling.

*(SAME STUPID REPUBLICAN UPHOLDS OBAMACARE FOR THE SECOND TIME)* John Roberts Authors 6-3 Opinion Upholding Obamacare Subsidies

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 3.09.52 PMBY MARK SHERMAN

(AP) – The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

The justices said in a 6-3 ruling that the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, under the 2010 health care law.

The outcome is the second major victory for Obama in politically charged Supreme Court tests of his most significant domestic achievement.

Chief Justice John Roberts again voted with his liberal colleagues in support of the law. Roberts also was the key vote to uphold the law in 2012. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a dissenter in 2012, was part of the majority on Thursday.

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.

Nationally, 10.2 million people have signed up for health insurance under the Obama health overhaul. That includes the 8.7 million people who are receiving an average subsidy of $272 a month to help pay their insurance premiums.

Of those receiving subsidies, 6.4 million people were at risk of losing that aid because they live in states that did not set up their own health insurance exchanges.

The challenge devised by die-hard opponents of the law, often derided by critics as “Obamacare,” relied on four words — established by the state — in the more than 900-page law.

The law’s opponents argued that the vast majority of people who now get help paying for their insurance premiums are ineligible for their federal tax credits. That is because roughly three dozen states opted against creating their own health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, and instead rely on the federal healthcare.gov to help people find coverage if they don’t get insurance through their jobs or the government.

In the challengers’ view, the phrase “established by the state” demonstrated that subsidies were to be available only available to people in states that set up their own exchanges. Those words cannot refer to exchanges established by the Health and Human Services Department, which oversees healthcare.gov, the opponents argued.

The administration, congressional Democrats and 22 states responded that it would make no sense to construct the law the way its opponents suggested. The idea behind the law’s structure was to decrease the number of uninsured. The law prevents insurers from denying coverage because of “pre-existing” health conditions. It requires almost everyone to be insured and provides financial help to consumers who otherwise would spend too much of their paycheck on their premiums.

The point of the last piece, the subsidies, is to keep enough people in the pool of insured to avoid triggering a so-called death spiral of declining enrollment, a growing proportion of less healthy people and premium increases by insurers.

Several portions of the law indicate that consumers can claim tax credits no matter where they live. No member of Congress said that subsidies would be limited, and several states said in a separate brief to the court that they had no inkling they had to set up their own exchange for their residents to get tax credits.

The 2012 case took place in the midst of Obama’s re-election campaign, when he touted the largest expansion of the social safety net since the advent of Medicare nearly a half-century earlier. But at the time, the benefits of the Affordable Care Act were mostly in the future. Many of its provisions had yet to take effect.

In 2015, the landscape has changed, although the partisan and ideological divisions remain for a law that passed Congress in 2010 with no Republican votes.

The case is King v. Burwell, 14-114.

*(REPEAL? REALLY REPUBLICAS? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE UP TILL NOW?)* GOP pledges to fight ‘tooth and nail’ to repeal ObamaCare

http://media.thehill.com/services/player/bcpid2764968418001?bctid=4321823079001&bckey=AQ~~,AAAAAEA-5AE~,7pYsU79IKz2CB7rS1-yZzf130eU-6On5

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 3.03.09 PMBY JORDAIN CARNEY

Senate Republicans quickly pledged Thursday to fight to repeal ObamaCare in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling upholding the law’s federal subsidies.

The Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that 6.4 million people can continue to receive subsidies that allow them to purchase healthcare plans, handing a victory to the Obama administration.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Republicans will “continue to fight tooth and nail to repeal” the Affordable Care Act.

“Today’s decision doesn’t change the fact that Obamacare has been a disaster for the millions of hardworking American families who have seen their health care costs skyrocket or lost their insurance entirely,” the senior Republican senator added.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) quickly weighed in, saying that the decision “won’t change ObamaCare’s multitude of broken promises.”

The Republican leader tried to pressure Democrats who supported the law, saying they face a choice to either “crow about Obamacare’s latest wobble toward the edge, or work with us to address the ongoing negative impact of a 2,000-page law that continues to make life miserable for too many of the same people it purported to help.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) added that Republicans will continue to move forward with their legislative alternatives, including the Patient CARE Act, which would repeal ObamaCare.

“Fortunately, Republicans have a plan to reverse this course by repealing and replacing Obamacare with reforms that put patients — not Washington — first,” he said. “Moving forward, we will continue to seek input on our legislative proposal … and use every opportunity available to give both states and patients more freedom and flexibility.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who has repeatedly come to the Senate floor to criticize the law and Democratic support for it, suggested Republicans would use every available avenue to change the law.
“We’ll take every action possible in Congress, in the courts and in statehouses across our country to stop this unworkable and unaffordable law from hurting more Americans,” said Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee. “We’ll continue to look for opportunities to deliver real reform that lowers costs, improves access and helps all Americans live healthier lives.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) added that the Supreme Court’s decision “does not repeal the problems with Obamacare.”

“The fight to repeal and replace Obamacare to give patients the power must continue,” he said. “I remain committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare with conservative, free market solutions that give you the power.”

Democrats quickly doubled down on their support for the Afforable Care Act.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggested that it was time for Republicans to rethink their strategy.

“I say this respectfully to my Senate colleagues, and I mean that: Stop banging your heads against the wall on this legislation. It passed,” he said. “Move on. Republicans should really, they should pause for a minute and look back. … I would hope Republicans would rethink what they’ve been up to.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) added that he hopes “our Republicans colleagues will now give up their quest to repeal Obamacare and move on to more productive activities for the middle class.”

And Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) suggested that Republicans should focus on improving health insurance, saying “memo to the non-stop critics of the Affordable Care Act: Stop trying to kill this program and work to make it stronger.”

SUPREMES LOVE OBAMACARE; COURT MOVES LEFT. THANK YOU REPUBLICANS

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 9.29.30 AM

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS NATIONWIDE HEALTH CARE LAW SUBSIDIES

BY MARK SHERMAN

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

The justices said in a 6-3 ruling that the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, under the 2010 health care law.

The outcome is the second major victory for Obama in politically charged Supreme Court tests of his most significant domestic achievement.

Chief Justice John Roberts again voted with his liberal colleagues in support of the law. Roberts also was the key vote to uphold the law in 2012. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a dissenter in 2012, was part of the majority on Thursday.

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.

Nationally, 10.2 million people have signed up for health insurance under the Obama health overhaul. That includes the 8.7 million people who are receiving an average subsidy of $272 a month to help pay their insurance premiums.

Of those receiving subsidies, 6.4 million people were at risk of losing that aid because they live in states that did not set up their own health insurance exchanges.

The challenge devised by die-hard opponents of the law, often derided by critics as “Obamacare,” relied on four words – established by the state – in the more than 900-page law.

The law’s opponents argued that the vast majority of people who now get help paying for their insurance premiums are ineligible for their federal tax credits. That is because roughly three dozen states opted against creating their own health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, and instead rely on the federal healthcare.gov to help people find coverage if they don’t get insurance through their jobs or the government.

In the challengers’ view, the phrase “established by the state” demonstrated that subsidies were to be available only available to people in states that set up their own exchanges. Those words cannot refer to exchanges established by the Health and Human Services Department, which oversees healthcare.gov, the opponents argued.

The administration, congressional Democrats and 22 states responded that it would make no sense to construct the law the way its opponents suggested. The idea behind the law’s structure was to decrease the number of uninsured. The law prevents insurers from denying coverage because of “pre-existing” health conditions. It requires almost everyone to be insured and provides financial help to consumers who otherwise would spend too much of their paycheck on their premiums.

The point of the last piece, the subsidies, is to keep enough people in the pool of insured to avoid triggering a so-called death spiral of declining enrollment, a growing proportion of less healthy people and premium increases by insurers.

Several portions of the law indicate that consumers can claim tax credits no matter where they live. No member of Congress said that subsidies would be limited, and several states said in a separate brief to the court that they had no inkling they had to set up their own exchange for their residents to get tax credits.

The 2012 case took place in the midst of Obama’s re-election campaign, when he touted the largest expansion of the social safety net since the advent of Medicare nearly a half-century earlier. But at the time, the benefits of the Affordable Care Act were mostly in the future. Many of its provisions had yet to take effect.

In 2015, the landscape has changed, although the partisan and ideological divisions remain for a law that passed Congress in 2010 with no Republican votes.

The case is King v. Burwell, 14-114.

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Bombshell email release reveals how closely Obamacare ‘architect’ Gruber worked with White House

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 5.09.27 PMBY BARBARA BOLAND

Obamacare “architect” Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, frequently contacted the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services on the healthcare law and how to publicly describe his role, a 20,000-page trove of Gruber’s emails released to the Wall Street Journal show.

In videos that surfaced this past year, in 2013 Gruber referred to the “stupidity of the American voter” and the “huge political advantage” the healthcare legislation’s lack of transparency would provide in getting the bill passed.

The ensuing public furor against Gruber for his comments caused the Obama administration to distance themselves from the former adviser. “The fact that some adviser who never worked on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with … is no reflection on the actual process that was run,” Obama said of Gruber’s role at the G20 summit in Australia in November 2014.

The emails show Gruber kept HHS abreast of his conversations with health reporters and lawmakers: He let them know when a conversation went well and a story would post; when he got pushback about his undisclosed contract he revealed only their description of his activities; and that he worked to convince Sen. Mary Landrieu to support the bill.

“There’s no doubt [Gruber] was a much more integral part of this than they’ve said,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah), chairman of the committee that released the emails, reported the Wall Street Journal. “He put up this facade he was an arm’s length away. It was a farce.”

Gruber received almost $400,000 from HHS alone for his work creating computer models that would predict how the Congressional Budget Office would score the healthcare legislation, according to public records.

From the Wall Street Journal:
The emails show Mr. Gruber was in touch with key advisers such as Peter Orszag, who was director of the Office of Management and Budget, an arm of the White House that oversaw federal programs.

He was also in contact with Joshua Furman, an economic adviser to the president, and Ezekiel Emanuel, who was then a special adviser for health policy at OMB.

One email indicates Mr. Gruber was invited to meet with Mr. Obama. In a July 2009 email, he wrote that Mr. Orszag had “invited me to meet with the head honcho to talk about cost control.”

“Thank you for being an integral part of getting us to this historic moment,” according to Sept. 9, 2009 email to Mr. Gruber from Jeanne Lambrew, a top Obama administration health adviser who worked at HHS and the White House. In a November 2009 email, she called Mr. Gruber “our hero.”
Gruber’s emails strike the same tone his 2013 videos do; he speaks of “winners and losers” if employees are moved into the exchanges as a result of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, in “an August 2009 email, he said 4.2 million people with employer-sponsored insurance would be dropped from having coverage — a trend that hasn’t materialized,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

The emails the Wall Street Journal scoured were obtained from MIT and cover the period between January 2009 and March 2010.

When Gruber was called before Congress to explain his remarks and his role in the health care law this past year, Gruber claimed he was not really an architect and that he wasn’t “an expert on politics and my tone implied that I was.”

Both Gruber and HHS declined comment to the Wall Street Journal.