Yesterday’s duel rulings on the subsidies for Obamacare may be the best of all possible worlds for the GOP.
The appeals court for the District of Columbia ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that the federal government can’t hand out taxpayer funded subsidies to people who buy Obamacare in two-thirds of the states. This, in essence, guts Obamacare because without the money, most people will not be able to pay for the expensive government health care. It could as much as quadruple current prices, something the Democrats don’t want voters to know about.
We, in Tennessee, had a Republican legislature savvy enough to see the problems inherent in the current ACA and reject participation in it. We joined 36 others in refusing to set up a state exchange. Only 14 states decided to do it.
Conservatives all over the country rejoiced at this surprising ruling from a liberal court. Then, another court, the Richmond based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled the opposite, saying the IRS had the right to subsidize others with taxpayer money.
Same facts, different decisions and something for everyone. While we might not have wanted the second decision, it may prove helpful in encouraging Republican voters to go to the polls because it pushes Obamacare back into the political equation just in time for local and federal elections. Liberals like it because it affirms Obamacare. Whether they will be as motivated to fight it as we will, I doubt.
Local because our Memphis August 7 election includes the issue of retention for three state Supreme Court justices. Then in the statewide federal election in November, we get to express our opposition again in the amendment ballot initiatives.
Senator Brian Kelsey, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, noted this in a press release yesterday:
In light of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision today in the case of Halbig v. Burwell, Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) renewed his call to Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper to join in the lawsuit against ObamaCare. The decision prohibited the IRS from penalizing certain employers in states like Tennessee that did not set up a state-run health exchange. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals today created a split among the circuits by issuing an opposite decision.
“Since January of this year, I have been urging our attorney general to challenge the poorly drafted Obamacare law. Attorneys General in other states are successfully fighting back against federal government overreach while ours is remaining silent.”
It was our Attorney General, a Democrat appointed by the left leaning state Supreme Court, who did not allow Tennessee to join other states in fighting Obamacare. A vote for this amendment will end this method that has succeeded in barring us from having a Republican AG for the past 200 years.
I might add that it should make Memphians take a good, hard look at those up for judgeships. We want judges to be impartial, but you cannot leave their political predilections aside. It matters what they think about the power of the federal government vs. the state and the individual.
If the ACA issue is viewed as seriously as it was in 2010, these rulings will help us get the vote out. Had it been only the one ruling, it might not motivate people enough. For now, game on!