Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Weekly Opinion Editorial

By Steve Fair
Last week, the Affordable Care Act had a mixed week.  On Tuesday, the appeals court in the District of Columbia voted 2-1 that the IRS had went beyond the bounds of the ACC with subsidies given to those  who signed up for ObamaCare at healthcare.gov.  According to the ruling, the law only allowed subsidies if they were administrated by a state run health care exchange. Only fourteen states set up an healthcare exchange.   It is estimated that over 90% of those who have signed up for ObamaCare did so at the federal health exchange and without the federal subsidies, many of those will just drop their coverage.  The ruling has the potential to be devastating to the ACA, but supporters of ObamaCare take heart.  The ruling will be appealed to an eleven member appellate court made up of seven Ds and four Rs and given the nature of the beast, the lower court’s ruling will likely be overturned. 
A conflicting ruling on a similar lawsuit concerning subsidies was issued by the 4th district federal court of appeals in Richmond, Virginia.  They ruled the subsidies are legal, not matter where a person signed up.    No unexpectedly, President Obama said the subsidies will continue until the issue is worked out in court.
The legality of the subsidies has been the basis of Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s lawsuit over the ACA all along.  When other AGs across the country were challenging the law based on the commerce clause, Pruitt was saying the IRS did not have the legal right to impose tax penalties on employers with fifty or more employees who chose not to offer insurance coverage. 
In an interview with CapitolBeatOK, Pruitt said about the DC ruling; “This is a consequential ruling. I am delighted the D.C. circuit spoke as firmly and as clearly as they did. They even took note of the fact that as judges they were reticent and troubled to have to fashion the decision they did. But honesty required them to reach this result, because of the language of the law itself.” 
Some things to ponder about these two conflicting rulings:
First, the American taxpayer can ill afford these subsidies.  According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 87% of people who signed up for ObamaCare for this year qualified for subsidies, and on average those who signed up paid 76% less than the true cost of their plan. That means they pay $82 a month- the American taxpayer $294 of their $376 a month premium. President Obama and the Democrats haven’t lowered health care costs- they have simply shifted the financial burden from individuals to the taxpayer.  The American taxpayer has enough to pay without forcing them to subsidize their neighbor’s health insurance.  The ACA should be repealed. 
Second,  AG Scott Pruitt is on the right track.  When the vast majority of others were attacking the ACA from the commerce angle, he rightly understood the real Achilles heel in ObamaCare is subsidies.  No ruling has been issued in Pruitt’s suit, which was filed in the Eastern federal district court of Oklahoma, but the winners in the DC case used his same argument.
Third, these ‘activist’ judiciary rulings are destroying America.  The three branches of government in American government are supposed to be separate, but equal.  They are to provide a ‘balance of power.’  What unfortunately has evolved is an activist federal judiciary that legislates from the bench. In his interview with Capitalbeatok, Pruitt said, “The job of judges is to say what the law is, not what they wish it were. I believe the Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C. did a great job. This is a great ruling keeping separation of powers intact and upholding the plain meaning of law.” 

Fourth, it’s time the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to do their job. That’s right- Congress has the power, authority and responsibility to make sure the judiciary is interpreting the law and and not making it. Congress can impeach federal judges. Article 3, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution states that federal judges shall hold their office ‘during good behavior.’  I can assure you many of the federal judiciary- from district court to the Supreme Court- across America are misbehaving and their misbehavior is destroying our way of life.

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