December 4, 2014
Members of the GOP are asking the Supreme Court to take up another case against ObamaCare, this time challenging a controversial medical board that the party has called “a death panel.”
Sen. Tom Coburn R-Okla., Rep. Phil Roe R-Tenn. and several other Republicans will file an amicus brief Thursday urging the court to reconsider a case against a piece of the healthcare law called the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
via GOP asks Supreme Court to take on another ObamaCare case | TheHill.
December 4, 2014
According to the Left, that line is routinely portrayed as a drafting error, a simple mistake that arose when multiple versions of the Affordable Care Act were hastily crammed into one. “Death by Typo: The Latest Frivolous Attack on Obamacare,” read the headline on a Nov. 4 Paul Krugman column.
But by downplaying the challenge in this way, referring to the sentence in question as a “typo” or a “drafting error,” Obamacare’s supporters risk playing right into the challengers’ hands, Lazarus argues. His fear is that this rhetoric is setting the groundwork for the Court’s conservative justices to say, in effect, that their hands are tied—that they see they error, are powerless to fix it, and so must dismantle the statute.”
If they see that the entire public discussion in the media assumes that there was a drafting error and that is the problem with the statute, then they can gain greater confidence that they can defuse criticism by saying, ‘You’re right, there is a drafting error, but it’s not up to the courts to correct it,’ ” Lazarus argued.
via Is the Left Helping SCOTUS Destroy Obamacare? – NationalJournal.com.
December 4, 2014
Raines suggests that federal courts must dismiss cases brought by legislators in their official capacity, unless they can show that their legal injury arises out of the complete nullification of their vote, thus equating their injury to institutional harm. The complaint repeatedly notes that “[t]he House has been injured, and continues to be injured, by defendants’ [unconstitutional/unlawful] actions, which, among other things, usurp the House’s legislative authority.”
The court’s willingness to reach the merits of these arguments may turn on how much weight is given to the availability of political tools to reverse the President’s decisions. Raines may not be a model of clarity, but this first Supreme Court ruling on congressional standing relied in part on the ability of the congressional plaintiffs there to persuade their colleagues to repeal the Line Item Veto Act. If that reasoning can be extended to Congress’ powers to curb the alleged Presidential errors through the appropriations process or further legislative action, then Raines may undercut the House’s claim that the executive branch has fully usurped its legislative authority. However, that would entail a significant extension of that piece of the Raines rationale.
This makes House of Representatives v. Burwell et al. another fascinating example of the role our three branches of government continue to play in healthcare politics.
via Raines Rain on Boehner’s Parade: EXCHANGing Views: MLA Health Vision.
November 30, 2014
In mounting the latest court challenge to the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans are focusing on a little-noticed provision of the law that offers financial assistance to low- and moderate-income people.
Under this part of the law, insurance companies must reduce co-payments, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for some people in health plans purchased through the new public insurance exchanges. The federal government reimburses insurers for the “cost-sharing reductions.”
In their lawsuit, House Republicans say the Obama administration needed, but never received, an appropriation to make these payments to insurance companies. As a result, they contend, the spending violates the Constitution, which says, “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.”
via Suit on Health Law Puts Focus on Funding Powers – NYTimes.com.
November 24, 2014
Even if the government loses, King wouldn’t call into question the validity of tax credit payments made before June 2015, when the Supreme Court is likely to decide King. Under 26 U.S.C. §7805(b)(8), the IRS has the power to “prescribe the extent, if any, to which any ruling (including any judicial decision …) relating to the internal revenue laws shall be applied without retroactive effect.” In plain English, that means the IRS need not claw back tax credits that were paid out before the Court’s decision.
But what happens after June? Unless the Supreme Court stays its decision, the IRS would have to abruptly stop issuing advance tax credits. The effects would be felt almost immediately: 4.5 million people would see their insurance rates surge; many of them would drop coverage; and insurers’ risk pools would skew toward the unhealthy, leading to enormous losses. In a word, there would be chaos on Healthcare.gov.
via Could the Supreme Court stay King? A qualification. | The Incidental Economist.
November 24, 2014
Ms. Wilensky holds out hope that the court might yet prod Congress to act. If a majority of justices call on lawmakers to resolve the ambiguity, she reasoned, Republicans might then salvage the challenged subsidies in return for changes such as curbing health-care mandates on employers.
That may be wishful thinking.
“The kind of changes that Gail is talking about come from a mentality about negotiation between the two parties that used to be the rule here in Washington,” said Henry J. Aaron, a policy analyst at the Brookings Institution who served in Mr. Clinton’s administration.
“People of good will on both sides got together, they didn’t always agree, they worked out their differences and they dealt with problems,” Mr. Aaron said. “That is all too regrettably now missing from the scene here.”
via In Partisan Washington, Health Law Faces Grave Legal Technicalities – NYTimes.com.
November 24, 2014
The state of Oklahoma, arguing that the Supreme Court should consider the views of a state government when it rules on the legality of federal tax subsidies to be paid to insurance-buying consumers under the Affordable Care Act, has urged the Court to review that state’s case when it considers the already granted case of King v. Burwell.
Following a request by the Obama administration, Oklahoma’s case is on hold now at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, while the Justices review the King case. But Oklahoma’s attorney general, Scott Pruitt, is now seeking to bypass the appeals court with a new petition. The petition itself is not yet available, but it has been docketed by the Supreme Court.
via Oklahoma seeks faster health care appeal UPDATED : SCOTUSblog.