Free Market Friday: Repeal and replace
June 26, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday in King v Burwell that words don’t matter, at least not in federal law. The decision turns the focus back to Congress and the next president, where responsibility awaits for repealing bad laws and making better ones.
The Affordable Care Act directs subsidies to those who purchase health insurance on exchanges established by the state.
This restriction of subsidies to customers of state exchanges may have been intended to punish people in states that resisted Obamacare, or might simply be a consequence of the way the bill was rushed and rammed through Congress.
The Obama administration, big insurance companies, and other supporters of Obamacare seem to have believed that once the law took effect, opposition would evaporate.
“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said.
Yet Obamacare remains unpopular, particularly in states like Oklahoma where most citizens support limits on government power over their lives. Instead of one or two states dragging their feet, the majority stood with their citizens and refused to set up exchanges.
The ACA makes health insurance more expensive, but hides this fact by engineering a new and massive wealth redistribution scheme. Without subsidies to buy off insurance companies and consumers, Obamacare would collapse. So when states refused to be bullied into going along, the Obama administration ignored the law and provided subsidies to customers on the exchange hastily established by the federal government.
The problem now is that the Supreme Court has determined that in doing this, the Obama administration didn’t break the law. Even as shoddy a law passed in as disgraceful a manner as Obamacare is still a law.
Our representatives in Congress make the law. The president’s duty is to take care that the laws be faithfully executed – until Thursday.
Fixing problems with those words, or scrapping the entire scheme, has always been and remains a job for the people’s elected members of Congress.
Thursday was a bad day for the rule of law, but the task before us remains the same as it was the day after Obamacare was enacted.
The Congress that promised to repeal and replace Obamacare is now on the clock.