Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Frivolous Law Suit

They couldn't stop it when it was originally in Congress. They couldn't gather enough votes to repeal it thereafter. They couldn't get it completely overturned in court. And they couldn't defeat the President who fought for the bill and signed it into law.

So now, they're doing whatever they can to undermine it. And if that means striking a painful blow to working families, so be it. If that means making health insurance unaffordable for 6.5 million Americans, so be it.

Earlier today, a 3 judge panel on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Halbig v. Burwell. It just so happens that 2 of those judges are Republican appointees, and 1 in particular has been notorious for his ideological tirades from the bench. So of course, it was a 2-1 vote to essentially blow up Obamacare by removing health insurance tax credits from the 36 states on the federal health insurance exchange. (And now that Nevada's exchange is a state/federal partnership, we may be affected by this ruling.)

This ruling isn't the end of this story, far from it. The Obama Administration will request an en banc hearing of the full court. And since the full DC Circuit Court now has an 8-5 Democratic/Republican composition, there's more than a decent chance this 3 judge panel decision will be overturned by the full court.

And then, there's this. At the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, a 3 judge panel ruled in favor of the defendants in King v. Burwell. And that ruling was unanimous. Here's what Senior Judge Andre Davis wrote in the unanimous panel decision.

"I am pleased to join in full the majority’s holding that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “permits” the Internal Revenue Service to decide whether premium tax credits should be available to consumers who purchase health insurance coverage on federally-run Exchanges. But I am also persuaded that, even if one takes the view that the Act is not ambiguous in the manner and for the reasons described, the necessary outcome of this case is precisely the same. That is, I would hold that Congress has mandated in the Act that the IRS provide tax credits to all consumers regardless of whether the Exchange on which they purchased their health insurance coverage is a creature of the state or the federal bureaucracy."

So now, we have 2 competing 3 judge panel decisions. And both look set to receive en banc reviews. And both may end up at the door of the US Supreme Court (where the majority already upheld the foundation of the Affordable Care Act in June 2012).

They couldn't stop it in 2010. They couldn't repeal it in 2011. They couldn't sue it to death or defeat the President who championed it in 2012. And they couldn't even shut down the government to defund it to death in 2013. So now, the usual G-O-TEA suspects are back in court in yet another last ditch effort to sue it to death today. They don't mind hurting millions of Americans just to score political points... And they still don't realize the futility of their frivolous law suits and careless obstruction.

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