Obamacare

Inside the IRS, part 6

Featured image William Henck has worked inside the IRS Office of the Chief Counsel as an attorney for over 26 years. We posted his personal account, including his testimony to a retaliatory audit conducted by the IRS against him, this past February in “Inside the IRS.” We followed up with subsequent posts including, most recently, “Inside the IRS, part 5,” regarding the promotion of Fred Schindler to a senior position within the »

Hilarious Fail of the Week: Gruber Claims It Was a “Speak-O!”

Featured image As all the world now knows, Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber is on video explaining that under the ACA, tax subsidies will only be available to individuals who enroll in state-created exchanges, and will not be available to those who participate in the federal exchange. In other words, the limitation of subsidies to state exchanges was a deliberate policy, intended to give states a major incentive to create exchanges, and not »

Obamacare architect explained intent behind allowing subsidies only on state exchanges

Featured image Jonathan Gruber, a professor at MIT, is widely is regarded as the architect of both Romneycare and Obamacare. Following the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Halbig, he asserted that the provision of Obamacare limiting subsidies to the state exchanges was a “typo.” Indeed, he found it “criminal” to suggest that Obamacare was intended to work this way. But William Jacobson (via one of his readers) has unearthed video from 2012 in »

Explicating exchanges

Featured image Following up on Paul Mirengoff’s series of posts on the DC Circuit’s Halbig decision, I want to draw attention to Kim Strassel’s weekly Wall Street Journal column exploring “The Obamacare-IRS nexus” (behind the Journal’s subscription paywall but accessible via Google). Strassel exposes the role played by the IRS at the behest of the White House in promulgating regulations ignoring the limitation of Obamacare subsidies to exchanges established by states. Democrats »

Drafting error vs. drafting miscalculation

Featured image Sean Davis, a former congressional staffer, examines the claim that the provision in Obamacare limiting subsidies to those participating in state exchanges was the product of “drafting error.” He finds it laughable. I discussed what a legislative drafting error looks like here. Davis sees it the same way: When I worked in the Senate. . .it was not uncommon to find obvious errors in bills and amendments. Sometimes you would »

Shocker: GAO sting reveals Obamacare fraud

Featured image The National Journal reports on a sting operation conducted by the Government Accounting Office to test the strength of Obamacare’s eligibility-verification system. To no one’s surprise, the verification system failed the test. Fake applicants were able to get subsidized insurance coverage in 11 of 18 attempts. The total amount of the subsidies for the 11 approved applications was about $2,500 per month. The investigators created fake identities by inventing Social »

Drafting error vs. poor draftsmanship

Featured image Obamacare by its express and unambiguous terms limits Obamacare subsidies to people using health care exchanges “established by the State.” Thus, subsidies to people in the federal exchange are not permitted, as these exchanges obviously are not established by the State. However couched, the argument that subsidies should nonetheless accrue to people in the federal exchange boils down to the notion that the limiting language of the statute is the »

What’s next after Obamacare’s defeat in Halbig v. Burwell? [updated]

Featured image As Steve has noted, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Columbia today invalidated the IRS regulation that provides for insurance subsidies to millions of lower-income Americans using the federal Obamacare exchanges. The ruling means that in 36 states, Obamacare subsidies will not be available, making its insurance coverage unaffordable to many Americans and potentially crashing the system. The Court’s ruling, by a vote of 2-1, is clearly correct. »

Dueling Appellate Court Opinions on Obamacare: Where Do We Go From Here?

Featured image This morning, as Steve noted earlier, a panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held, in Halbig v. Burwell, that the Affordable Care Act does not permit the federal government to subsidize persons who enroll in exchanges run by the federal government, as opposed to a state. Just two hours later, a panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the other way on exactly the same issue »

Breaking: Obamacare Takes Torpedo Below the Water Line

Featured image Wish I had time to get through the just issued DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruling striking down the IRS twisting of the Obamacare statute’s clear language on state-based exchanges (I’m at the Reagan Library all this week doing a Gipper 101 course for high school teachers—see photo nearby of Sunday night’s opening talk—and I have to be off momentarily for this morning’s classes), but this looks to be HUGE, »

Legislation trumps administrative regulation, left irate

Featured image Lost in the sound and fury coming from the left in reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby is this point, made in a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle by Emmett C. Stanton: People choose to forget that when Obamacare passed so narrowly, it was in large part because the administration misled pro-life Democrats about its abortion and abortifacient coverage. The legislation never would have passed if »

Shocker: Obamacare exchanges not properly checking eligibility

Featured image The Washington Post reports that “the new health insurance marketplaces run by the federal government and some states are not checking carefully enough that Americans who apply for health plans qualify for the coverage and federal subsidies to help pay for it, according to federal investigators.” Is this evidence of incompetence and/or lack of resources? Perhaps. But you could also argue that the marketplaces are running essentially as they were »

Hobby Lobby and the shape of things to come

Featured image What are the implications of today’s Hobby Lobby decision for challenges by non-profit religious institutions, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, to Obamacare’s mandate that they facilitate the free distribution of contraceptives and abortifacients to any of their employees who desire them? Professor Mark Rienzi, who together with the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty has been litigating these sorts of religious liberty cases against the Justice Department, offers »

Supreme misery for the left [or not]

Featured image The Supreme Court today issued its final two decisions of the term. One of them constitutes a clear defeat for the left. The other looks like a minor defeat. In the Hobby Lobby case, the Court held that closely held corporations cannot be required to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. The five center-right Justices formed the majority for that proposition. In Harris v. Quinn, the Court, again with the »

Obamacare Delenda Est

Featured image With the cascade of Administration scandals and the serial ineptitude of Obama’s foreign policy, it is easy to lose sight of the central issue that should swing a lot of the close Senate races this fall.  In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a 90-second video that makes the point elegantly: Democrats lied about Obamacare. And they’re not about to “fix” it. »

Social Science Abstract of the Week

Featured image Everyone who is awake knows that the labor force participation rate is at a 35-year low, making the real unemployment rate much higher than the “official” number of 6.3 percent reported this morning.  Now see this from Science magazine‘s roundup of notable journal articles this week, posted without comment, as none is necessary: Public health insurance costs jobs? Gilbert Chin What is the relationship between employment rates and access to public health »

The IRS lays down the law of Obamacare

Featured image New York Times health care reporter Robert Pear brings the latest news of Obamacare, courtesy of the IRS. Obamacare was signed into law in March 2010, yet four years later this comes as something of a surprise: Many employers had thought they could shift health costs to the government by sending their employees to a health insurance exchange with a tax-free contribution of cash to help pay premiums, but the »