by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
Looks like another disinformation campaign is underway in reaction to court ruling unfavorable to Obamacare. This one regards the Halbig ruling that Obamacare subsidies shall be distributed only to individual market exchange consumers living in states that have set up their own health insurance exchanges.
As The News & Observer editorialized this morning,
The judges’ ruling rests on what is essentially a typo in the lengthy health care law.
Just a “typo.” Right. And Hobby Lobby was about “denying women contraceptives and religious freedom.”
Our own Katherine Restrepo wrote last year about the evidence that the supposed “typo” was congressional intent all along, going into the history of the legislation. The Federalist today rebuts the “drafting error” disinformation and also explains the history and the legislation. Jonathan Adler and Michael Cannon have been writing about this issue for three years — and also showing throughout that time that “the text of the law is perfectly clear.”
As Cannon explained in 2012 to Carolina Journal, the text is clear, as was congressional intent:
“Congress authorized no funds for the federal fallback exchanges that the feds are supposed to create if states don’t create their own,” Cannon said. “That’s because Congress didn’t think that states were going to reject [them]. They thought that once Obamacare reached the states, they’d be greeted as liberators.”
Avik Roy in Forbes explains that the ruling was to stop the IRS from rewriting legislation. He also found no reason to think that the case was an ill harbinger for Obamacare, because as he put it, Chief Justice John Roberts is “more worried about left-wing criticism of the Court than he was about constitutional precision. Its hard to believe he wouldn’t act the same way” when this case reaches the Supreme Court.
Which would also explain the disinformation being put out now — a kind of legacy blackmail to a chief justice who has indicated he’s malleable in that way.
In the meantime, apart from verging on declaring war on libertarians (despite the headline blaming conservatives), Slate is none too concerned and expects the ruling to be overturned by an en banc hearing. They remember that
last year the Senate Democrats changed the filibuster rules that covered nominees to executive branch jobs and courts below the Supreme Court. That allowed three stalled Obama nominees onto the court, which ended a long-running conservative supermajority on the D.C. Circuit.