By Doug Book, editor
In June of last year I wrote that the future of ObamaCare would depend upon the outcome of a small number of under-reported lawsuits filed to prevent the IRS illegally re-writing the Affordable Care Act.
At issue in the lawsuits:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides tax credits and subsidies for the purchase of health insurance through exchanges that are run by “a governmental agency or nonprofit entity that is established by a state.” (2) By mid 2013 however, 33 states had refused to build an ObamaCare Exchange so necessary to the functioning of the law. And although the ACA made provision for recalcitrant governors and state legislators by permitting the federal government to build exchanges within their borders, it did NOT allow for federally run exchanges to provide the subsidies and tax credits without which healthcare plans would be unaffordable for a majority of businesses and individuals.
Section 1311 of ObamaCare allows for providing tax credits or subsidies to certain people who purchased qualified health plans “through AN EXCHANGE ESTABLISHED BY THE THE STATE.” (5) Section 1321 – the section regulating federally run exchanges – makes it clear that neither tax credits nor subsidies may be offered through exchanges established by the federal government. (3)
“Congress did not authorize tax credits, subsidies to private insurance companies, or penalties on employers in states with a federal Exchange.”
“Nor did Congress grant the IRS authority to create such credits, subsidies, and penalties…” (4)
However, in May of 2012, Barack Obama’s Internal Revenue Service decided to unilaterally change the language of the ACA and override the will of Congress by stating that the Service will have the authority to provide subsidies and tax credits to ObamaCare participants from federally run exchanges. The IRS literally rewrote the law and rescued the president’s legislation by giving itself permission to spend an estimated $800 billion taxpayer dollars over the next 10 years—dollars which were NOT authorized by congress to be spent. (1)
How does the Obama Regime defend implementation of an IRS rule which ignores the clear language of the ACA? By claiming that the new rule is “consistent with the intent of the law and our (Treasury Department’s) ability to interpret and implement it.”
But regardless of IRS assertions of intent, the text itself of the Affordable Care Act proves their claim to be an outright lie.
In response to the typically breathtaking contempt of the Obama Regime for both the law and the Constitution, 4 lawsuits were filed. Two have been decided: Halbig v Burwell (the new head of the HHS) and King v Burwell. In Halbig, the DC Circuit Court ruled the shenanigans of the IRS to be illegal. In King, the 4th Circuit Court decided that the language of the law was indeed “ambiguous,” making the IRS rewrite “a reasonable interpretation of the relevant text.”
Two lawsuits now remain each insisting HHS and the IRS overstepped their authority. They are Pruitt v Burwell and Indiana v IRS.
How may the American public expect them to be decided? Who can tell! The increasingly corrupt and pernicious purveyors of the legal system in the United States make predicting what should be the most straightforward of rulings virtually impossible. The unconditional appetite to further a politically inspired agenda has replaced the Constitution as the foundation of American jurisprudence.
Imagine providing a federal bureaucracy the power to “borrow” tax dollars, determine their use and ignore the specific, written language of the law, all for the purpose of implementing a political fix for legislation which didn’t turn out quite the way its authors had intended.
That an American court could even consider a ruling which might endorse such an abuse of power is scary as Hell.