By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
The Supreme Court bent over backwards today in an attempt to save Obamacare from its own tortured language by reinterpreting the statute, making the plain phrase “Exchange established by the state” signify both the state and federal exchanges. The mainstream media, in turn, are triumphal, having helped sway the final decision.
We have repeatedly written about The New York Times’ biased reporting regarding the King v. Burwell case and Obamacare in general. Today, the Times’ Editorial Board came out and said what Americans already knew, having read many of this paper’s farcical health care columns masquerading as reporting. The Times condemned the plaintiffs as having spearheaded a “blatantly political effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act,” called the case an “ideological farce dressed in a specious legal argument,” and claimed “the court should never have taken review of it to begin with.”
“The somersaults of statutory interpretation they [the Justices of the Supreme Court] have performed …will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence,” concludes Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito. “And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”
“So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere,” he dissents. “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.” The Court’s interpretation is “absurd,” Justice Scalia writes.
I agree with these three Justices that the majority’s Supreme Court decision today seemed more focused on reinterpreting the law to the point of incoherence in order to save the administration’s favored project than it was on a fair interpretation of the intent of the law.
This was, no doubt, a politically influenced decision. Perhaps the media’s full court press preserving the illusion of Obamacare’s successes against all evidence helped to sway the Justices. Or, maybe, given the court’s prior decision on the individual mandate, the Justices had already made up their minds and were looking for a pretext.
This latest decision on federal subsidies was wrong for the nation and it ignores the plain language of the law. Obamacare is a disastrous policy with harmful nationwide impacts.
The majority opinion states that “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,” Justice John Roberts writes for the majority.
Justice Scalia notes that these Justices are “presuppos[ing] the availability of tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges.”
In other words, because federal tax credits have already been given to millions of people, they must continue. President Obama now asserts that this ruling was a “historic and emphatic declaration that the law has now been ‘woven into the fabric of America.’”
What has been woven into the fabric of our country is higher premiums, less quality health care, higher deductibles and a program—Obamacare—that discourages companies from offering full-time employment.
Yet the mainstream media and President Obama have united to promote the illusory and nonexistent successes of this law despite the weight of the evidence, even to the point of recently ignoring new revelations regarding MIT professor Jonathan Gruber’s role in this debacle.
Then-Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) played a key role in ensuring that those four words, “established by the state,” were deliberately written into the law in order to assure his vote. There was no drafting error, as the media maintains.
USA Today’s David Jackson reports today that “GOP candidates” are “maintaining” their “attacks” on this abomination of a health care law. “In a sense, Thursday’s ruling means little if anything for the health care law or the politics surrounding it,” he reports.
“Democratic lawmakers said the decision should persuade Republicans to give up what they called a quixotic quest to repeal the health care law,” reports Jackson.
As the primaries heat up, the real questions for Republicans are:
- How big of an issue will this be among Republican candidates?
- Which position will prevail among GOP primary voters: full repeal, repeal and replace, or acceptance that Obamacare is here to stay?
- If it is the latter, should Republicans seek to tweak the law to make it better; or not tweak it so that the full extent of Obamacare’s impact will be made clear?
If there is a silver lining for Republicans and conservatives, it’s that they don’t now have to come up with a plan to fix, and keep funding, the federal subsidies for people in states without their own exchanges, while the Democrats and the media join together to demand that the GOP do something to protect those people, as they would have had the court decided otherwise.