So what are the Supremes up to now?
Posted November 12, 2014on:
Yesterday was Fredster’s birthday and a couple of his friends took him out to celebrate. Fred hasn’t had any alcohol since last December and right now he is feeling no pains. Therefore the post will be brief.
Good day to you Widdershins. As the title asks, what are the members of the Supreme Court up to now? On Friday, Nov. 7th (after the mid-term elections, mind you) the Supremes decided to take up the question of whether the Federal health insurance exchange can offer subsidies to folks who are looking to purchase health insurance on that exchange. The plaintiffs in this case argue that the text of the law creating the A.C.A. only mentioned subsidies being available on the exchanges run by the individual states. They argue that the law does not mention the federal exchange in the text of the law and that since it does not, then the federal exchange cannot offer premium assistance to those seeking to obtain health insurance on that exchange. Here’s the problem with that: 36 states opted not to establish exchanges, instead just letting their citizens use the Federal exchange. So, live in Cali, or Kentucky or one of the other states with a state exchange then no problem. Live in Alabama, Louisiana, Texas or one of the other states and you won’t be able to obatin subsidies to assist in paying your premiums. This excellent article over at Think Progress shows what will happen if the subsidies go away:
1. Millions of people will see triple digit premium hikes.
2. Millions of people will lose health care coverage.
3. Obamacare will face a death spiral.
4. Insurers will advocate for repealing market protections.
5. States will lose billions of dollars.
6. The health of Americans living in red states will worsen.
Krugman also has a great piece on this…mess…for lack of a better word.
To understand the issue, you need to understand the structure of health reform. The Affordable Care Act tries to establish more-or-less universal coverage through a “three-legged stool” of policies, all of which are needed to make the system work. First, insurance companies are no longer allowed to discriminate against Americans based on their medical history, so that they can’t deny coverage or impose exorbitant premiums on people with pre-existing conditions. Second, everyone is required to buy insurance, to ensure that the healthy don’t wait until they get sick to join up. Finally, there are subsidies to lower-income Americans to make the insurance they’re required to buy affordable.
Now as Krugman points out, the states without exchanges could simply set something up that directly links to the Federal exchange and that could probably solve the issue. But would they? I can easily see Bobby Jindal refusing to do so merely for political purposes and his laughable presidential ambitions. And I can easily see some other Repub governors just saying “too bad – so sad” and moving on.
Here’s Krugman’s last words on this: (bolding and italics mine)
Once upon a time, this lawsuit would have been literally laughed out of court. Instead, however, it has actually been upheld in some lower courts, on straight party-line votes — and the willingness of the Supremes to hear it is a bad omen.
So let’s be clear about what’s happening here. Judges who support this cruel absurdity aren’t stupid; they know what they’re doing. What they are, instead, is corrupt, willing to pervert the law to serve political masters. And what we’ll find out in the months ahead is how deep the corruption goes.
Here’s a clip from John Oliver’s Puppy Justice skits.
Finally I’m going to put in a tweet from The Rude Pundit about this issue and I soooo hope he’s right.
This is an open thread and I will probably not be around until waaay later in the day. I am already regretting the number of bourbons and soda I consumed. 😦
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