Update at the end
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in a 2-1 ruling Tuesday upheld a challenge to Obamacare healthcare subsidies being granted through the federal exchange. [Update: There was a conflicting ruling issued within hours of this by another federal court. See the end of the article.]
This case is huge and the U.S. Court of Appeals is the second highest court in the land. The decision could free more than 57 million Americans from the Individual and Employer mandates of Obamacare (Affordable Care Act).
In the case of Halbig v. Burwell, the court sided with plaintiffs who had argued that the law allows the federal subsidies to be awarded only through state-run exchanges.
This was one of the possibly-illegal changes made unilaterally by Barack Obama to the healthcare law.
Halbig v. Burwell is one of four lawsuits challenging the legality of the health-insurance subsidies and it could affect 57 million Americans, says Michael F. Cannon on Forbes online.
Health insurance subsidies are being granted in 36 states by the IRS despite the fact that the law specifically states that subsidies are only available “through an Exchange established by the State.”
IRS agents appear to have known they did not have the authority to issue subsidies through federal Exchanges but did it anyway to the tune of billions of taxpayer dollars.
The federal government is allowed to set up its own healthcare exchange in states that opted out but there is no provision in the law for them to set up subsidies or enforce the penalties.
The IRS has ignored the letter of the law and is enforcing all of its provisions in all states, even those with federal marketplaces. It has rewritten Obamacare law though that right is reserved for Congress.
As a result, the states opting-out are now subject to subsidies which trigger fines and restrictions that determine who has to comply with the individual and employer mandates. It’s incurred a greater penalty on businesses.
The IRS has exceeded their authority though this case will be appealed.
The federal government is attempting to say it was what Congress intended.
This bodes well for the other three lawsuits which are contesting the right of the federal government to issue subsidies in the stead of 36 individual states that opted out of the exchanges.
Barack Obama will not abide by the decision and will appeal it to the full court while ignoring the decision. The full court is heavily-weighted with liberals who will vote party instead of law. In fact, the Obama administration claims the wording is meaningless because Congress really didn’t mean what they wrote.
The law doesn’t matter in other words. The White House and their agencies can interpret the law any way they want, including putting words into the mouths of Congress.
Update: noon: Within hours of today’s, decision, a 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.” A frightening comment when one considers that they are saying the IRS can interpret the law in a way that differs from the actual wording by Congress.
The Richmond decision basically said that the law is whatever the IRS says it is. If that’s the case, we are in trouble.
With Justice John Roberts seemingly in love with Obamacare, so much so that he’d invent a bizarre rational to okay it, there appears to be a good chance that Mr. Obama will get away with violating the law once again when it is decided by the Supreme Court should they agree to take the case.