In a 6-to-3 decision in King v. Burwell, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the IRS rule permitting Affordable Care Act (ACA or ObamaCare) subsidies to flow through federal Exchanges, in clear contradiction to the wording of the statute, states the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
As noted by Justice Antonin Scalia in a scathing dissent, the Court rules that the term “established by the State,” which appears seven times in the statute, can also mean “not established by the State.”
The majority held that the “tax credits” and individual mandate were necessary to prevent the insurance “death spiral” that would otherwise occur as a result of ACA’s guaranteed issue and community rating provisions. Therefore, it reasoned, Congress must have intended them to apply even in the 34 States that declined to establish an Exchange.
“Statements by ‘disappearing’ MIT economist Jonathan Gruber that Congress deliberately intended to withhold subsidies as an ‘incentive’ for States to establish Exchanges were evidently disregarded,” stated AAPS executive director Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Had Congress made an error, it could have amended the statute, she noted. But it might well have declined to do so because, without subsidies, States were relieved of costly, onerous mandates.
“If the Court had applied the plain meaning of the statute, then the 34 states that declined to establish exchanges would be free to develop their own approaches without the interference by ObamaCare,” observes AAPS General Counsel Andrew Schlafly. “Instead, the Court distorted the statute to rescue an unsuccessful law.”
“Having transformed two major provisions of the law [in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius], the Court today has turned its attention to a third.” Justice Scalia writes. “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”
“ObamaCare itself destroys true insurance and places additional crushing burdens on those who provide actual care,” states Dr. Orient. “This can’t be fixed by forcing taxpayers pay a chunk of some people’s unaffordable premiums. What the Court has done is to further undermine the rule of law.”
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943 to preserve private medicine and the patient-physician relationship.