Saturday, January 31, 2015

King v. Burwell: Part I -- the Warmup Pitch Aimed at Obama-care

The GOP Tools to Kill the ACA (Obama-care), Really???
*psst: Health care is not a Vampire

Despite the Hype, Obama-care is Working
(More from Gallup here)


The topic headlines:

King v. Burwell: Courting Chaos 

(I add: maybe/maybe not)

January 30, 2015 | Link to story from (Think Progress here)

Sub-heading: "Conservatives Continue to Use the Court to Dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obama-care)"

Amicus briefs were due for King v. Burwell¸ the Supreme Court case which threatens to cause a meltdown in the health care system, if the high court were to rule against the law that offers tax credits for health insurance in “insurance marketplaces” now operating in approximately three dozen states that would be eliminated.

The case is another thinly-veiled attempt by ideologically-motivated GOP-Conservatives to repeal the health care law, despite the overwhelming evidence that the law is working (NY TIMES analysis).

Simply put, they have no ground to stand on in making their argument — i.e., the text of the law is simply at odds (Think Progress) with the plaintiffs’ view of what the law should say and do. Their case is so shaky, in fact, that many prominent conservatives who are fighting against the law have previously undercut their own arguments, for example:

•  In a 2013 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) said he spent nearly two years studying the law, and found there is no functional differences between a Federal and State exchange, adding: “…[but] in the end, there’s no real substantive difference between a Federal exchange, or a State exchange, or the in between, the hybrid, the partnership.” (Think Progress)

•  Sen. Orrin Hatch was one of six Republicans to file an amicus brief in favor of gutting the law. However, his brief directly contradicts an Op-Ed he co-wrote in 2010 in which he said that “… a state establishing its own exchange is not a condition for receiving federal funds, which would still leave some kind of choice to the states.” (Think Progress)

•  The Heritage Foundation (pretty darn rightwing) has supported the challengers in King v. Burwell, despite the fact that they wrote an entire white paper on the basis that subsidies would be available to any enrollee. According to that paper, in part, they advocated: “… whoever controls the AHB exchange,” tax credits will be available.

•  Recently, the challengers in this case also turned to former Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) to substantiate their case because during debates on the law when he was in office, he insisted that states should take the lead on establishing exchanges. Now he sets the record straight saying: “I always believed that tax credits should be available in all 50 states regardless of who built the exchange, and the final law also reflects that belief as well.”  

What rests on the outcome of this case is much, much more than a political victory for the GOP-Conservatives, who have hated the law since it was signed into effect, March 23, 2010.  Stripping the premium tax credits from all eligible individuals enrolled in a Federal marketplace would have dire consequences. Those opposed want the States to say no exchange and thus no plan or coverage – “Back to the Past” as it were (sounds like a B-movie title).

Four critical points of what would happen if the USSC rules against the ACA in this case:

  1. The non-partisan Urban Institute estimates that 8 million people would lose health coverage (also much more in their analysis).
  2. Health insurance companies and hospitals have said stopping subsidies in 34 states “would create severely dysfunctional insurance markets.”
  3. It would leave consumers in those States with a more unstable market and far higher costs than if the ACA had not been enacted.”
  4. Public health experts estimate that 9,800 preventable deaths will occur each year if the Supreme Court rules against the Affordable Care Act.
THE BOTTOM LINE: King v. Burwell is an ideologically-charged case whose real-world implications are much more serious than political gain. Many conservatives arguing against the law have undercut their argument in the past, showing the weakness of their own case.

GOP-Conservatives should stop playing politics with the livelihood of the American people. The well-being and financial stability of millions of Americans is much more important that partisan politics.

But try telling that to any rigid, brain dead whoever – all they care about are political points and power is their only aim. Yet, they have the unmitigated gall to stand in Congress and profess: “I/we support the American people” (we hear it in practically in every speech and sound byte). So, if gutting this law, which is working fine now by all accounts, is standing for the American people, many who now have affordable health care for the first times in their lives, then does it mean to "stand against the public and try to repeal health care that is finally working?” 

As Rick Perry (R-TX) might say: “Oops.”

All in all, we must remember this aside from the hype and flair and nonsense all over FOX and la-la land Talk Radio – this is all that really must stay in focus: 

THE OVERRIDING PURPOSE OF THE ACA WAS TO ENACT NATIONAL HEALTH REFORM BY ENSURING THE AVAILABILITY OF AFFORDABLE HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR ALL AMERICANS.

And, the operative words are: FOR ALL AMERICANS.


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