Government Watch / Opinion

ObamaCare’s Next Legal Challenge

from WSJ – by Scott Pruitt – The law says subsidies can only go through state-run exchanges – 

 

As millions of Americans see their health-insurance premiums increase, have their coverage dropped as a result of the Affordable Care Act, and are unable to use the federal exchange, Oklahoma has sued the Obama administration. The Sooner State and several others are trying to stop the government from imposing tax penalties on certain states, businesses and individuals in defiance of the law. If these legal challenges are successful, the deficit spending associated with the new health-care law could be reduced by approximately $700 billion over the next decade.

While the president’s health law is vast and extraordinarily complex, it is in one respect very simple. Subsidies are only to be made available, and tax penalties for not signing up for health insurance are only to be assessed, in states that create their own health-care exchange. The IRS, however, is attempting to enforce tax penalties in all states—including Oklahoma and the majority of the other states that have declined to create their own exchanges. Citizens and businesses in these states must use the federal exchange instead.

The distinction is critical, because under the terms of the law it is the availability of government insurance-premium subsidies that triggers the penalties against businesses if they fail to provide their employees with health insurance that the administration deems acceptable. This is a huge problem for the administration, which desperately needs to hand out tax credits and subsidies to the citizenry to quash the swelling backlash against the law.

When Oklahoma first raised this challenge in 2012, many experts predicted that the Sooner State would “go it alone” in pursuing this legal strategy. Not so. In Indiana, the state and 15 school districts have filed a lawsuit against the IRS, the agency that collects the penalties. Business owners (who, like the state of Oklahoma, would be subject to penalties as employers) and individuals in Virginia and the District of Columbia have done the same. In the D.C. lawsuit, the presiding judge recently rejected the Obama administration’s attempt to have the case dismissed, as the judge in the Oklahoma case did in August.

Motions for summary judgment will soon be filed in federal district courts, and our court system will determine whether what the administration has called its “improvements” to the ACA—essentially by ignoring some of its provisions—are lawful.

They are not. Congress was exceedingly clear that tax credits and subsidies are available to people whose plans “were enrolled in through an exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Even so, the administration argues that Congress intended for all Americans to receive subsidies regardless of whether they enrolled in health-care coverage through a state exchange or a federal exchange. But to arrive at that conclusion you have to ignore the plain language of the law. And nowhere in the law did Congress authorize the IRS to provide the credits or subsidies to those other than citizens who buy their insurance through an exchange established under section 1311 of the ACA—i.e., a state exchange.

Congress specified that credits and subsidies are only to be available in states that set up their own health-insurance exchange for a reason: It could not force states to set up exchanges. Instead, it had to entice them to do so. Oklahoma’s lawsuit is about preserving the state’s authority to make a policy decision granted to states under the Affordable Care Act. Our governor and policy makers in Oklahoma decided it wasn’t in the state’s best interest to create a health-care exchange. The IRS, at the administration’s bidding, is attempting to take away the benefits of that choice by regulatory action. Such attempts to expand the power of the executive branch should be troubling to all Americans.

While much time has been devoted in Washington to the issue of “defunding” the Affordable Care Act, the success of these lawsuits would have much the same effect. Should the courts decide the IRS is exceeding its authority and isn’t allowed to assess the employer penalties in states that have not established their own exchanges, the structure of the ACA will crumble—as one of the primary mechanisms the federal government has employed to force people into the health-insurance market evaporates.

As much as we wish the government were run like a business, the administration cannot “improve” upon legislation passed by Congress by rolling out updates in the manner that Silicon Valley does. That’s not permitted under the Constitution: Congress passes laws, the president executes them. Period. That’s why Oklahoma and other states are fighting to stop the administration’s attempt to “fix” the health-care law through executive fiat.

Mr. Pruitt is the attorney general of Oklahoma.

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59 Comments on "ObamaCare’s Next Legal Challenge"

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MTZ: Obama doesn’t want his name on it because he is a shallow, egotistical person & since the website totally failed on rollout he does what he always does, spins a change to divert anything negative away from himself.

Please call ACA by its “correct” name – OBAMACARE.

Obama, the Democrats & the Liberal media are trying very hard to portray it as the “Affordable Care Act”. After the website debacle, Obama said he doesn’t like that name (although he was ok with it before the rollout). He now doesn’t want his name on it.

Ham, if he doesn’t want his name on it why then did he sold it to us with promises based on lies that we can keep our insurance and no one can take it away from us KNOWING FULLY WELL THAT IT IS A LIE?? Some lawyers say, that what Pres. Obama said to sell it to us is A MALICIOUS MISREPRESENTATION and FRAUD, AND IF ONE DOES THAT IN THE COURSE OF THEIR BUSINESS THEY WILL BE SUED AND GET TO PAY PUNITIVE DAMAGES TO THE VICTIMS. Now, why can’t any ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ANY STATE MAKE THAT STICK if that is in fact true in our laws? Are there no gutsy lawyers out there anymore? Lots of my friends with CANCER and a family member lost their coverage that they were happy with. They should get Pelosi, Reid and the Pres. to answer for the result of their… Read more »

According to Rep. Chris Smith, Pres, Obama violated pro-life laws and is providing taxpayer funding for insurance plans that include abortion. In 2009, Obama stated, as per law, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion. As of today, of the 112 Obama Care plans for congress and staff, 103 are pro-abortion! As Rep. Chris Smith stated, “Abortion is NOT health care; it kills babies and harms women”.

Seems Pres. Obama needs to once again be held accountable!!

“…once again be held accountable…”?

I’m still waiting for the FIRST time.

No accountability for Fast and Furious, no accountability for making the border agents NOT do their jobs, no accountability for the IRS, no accountability for NSA snooping, no accountability for Benghazi and 4 dead Americans; and the fake rollout failure of ACA which I believe to be a coverup (once again) for forcing us all on a single payer system — and you worry about him being accountable for allowing abortions? “Teflon Man” hasn’t met a scandal yet that will stick to him – and unless someone with lots more power than any of us has exposes him for what he is — we are stuck for 3 more years of this travesty. The Media covers his back and front; he surrounds himself with his personal Washington Mafia goons, and rewrites the Constitution to suit his need of the day. Unless the Republican Congress grows a set, we’ll flow right… Read more »
The mainstream media is owned by the ELITES who handles most politicians.These Politicians get the majority of their campaign money from these corporations that is why no one really serves the citizenry after election except for a few that is maligned by the mainstream media and left powerless The only power the citizenry really have is on election time but unfortunately the mediocre minds listen to M/M and vote the person they promote, which again goes back to the control of the ELITES. The top 20 corporations in USA with tentacles all over the world is where the power is, research it and be educated. In other words, unless the citizenry is educated enough to know what really is going on we will remain the working SLAVES of the powers that be, PAYING ALL THE TAXES THEY BURDEN US WITH, WHILE MAKING BILLIONS IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY AT OUR EXPENSE.… Read more »

Fascinating! Please refer us to the source of information you referenced.

Too bad the laws didn’t allow Obama’s mother that option.

Just got a letter from our health insurance. Our premiums are going up immediately and our Medicare benefits have been reduced. Thank You Mr. Obama for the fine mess we are in. Your plan to destroy our health care system and our nation is working beautifully and right on schedule.

Wake up seniors, your medicare co-pay is going up but your Social Security benefits will not have COLA (cost of living adjustment) same as last year and years to come, because Obama’s admin.” tweaked” how inflation is calculated so as not to give a cost of living allowance. Politician’s campaign promises are just that, promises to be broken after they are in office. Try researching in the unbiased publications in the internet instead of listening to the TV/M M and BIASED publications. See the comments of GLOBAL ANALYSTS in the internet, WHO WILL TELL YOU THE TRUTH OF WHAT IS GOING ON. Until the citizenry is educated, we cannot change anything. Unfortunately the demise of any country is at the hands of the uninformed people listening to biased reports and empty political promises. They bury their heads in the sand or are in denial and votes blindly. May God bless… Read more »

Short of an armed insurrection and takeover of the government, our only hope of overturning this vile Obamacare Act is through the courts. Of course, Obama and Company have shown a fine disregard for the rule of law on numerous occasions aided and abetted by Liberal Democrats and a corrupt Attorney General so even court actions may be in vain. If we don’t gain veto proof Conservative control of both houses of Congress, it will be a dark day for this country which was founded on freedom and is now watching it dribble away.

The problem is………the Obama administration is rapidly filling the courts with liberal activist judges that will rule their way and rule against the American people.

Phil, Both you and Professor Fate are correct. The Democrats are doing everything they can, via the renewed push for comprehensive immigration reform, which will lead to an eventual Democrat numerical majority we will never be able to overcome. All to ensure Republicans never attain the veto proof majorities required in both houses of Congress to reverse Obamacare and the rest of the socialist agenda in the works. In the meantime, you are absolutely correct that Obama will use Harry Reid’s recently exercised “nuclear option” to allow Obama to pack the federal courts with as many liberal judges as they can put in place. Thus creating a judicial backstop to ensure any pushbacks to Obama’s agenda meet a swift and resounding defeat in the courts. Also, don’t forget we’re only one vote away from having a liberal Supreme Court as well. I’m sure Obama is chomping at the bit for… Read more »
Not unless you came from MARS, people should have known by now what DEMOCRATS stands for,SOCIALISM. Research all your Democrat Politicians, I bet most of them are card carrying members of the SOCIALIST ORG. Surprise, surprise we are just seeing their true colors just now? They want us to be their WORKING SLAVES, AS THEY PILE MORE TAXES ON US AND OUR CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN IN THE FUTURE. Not unless of course we all turn to WELFARE AND LOOSE OUR SELF RESPECT AND CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITIES FOR OUR EXISTENCE? THE GOVERNMENT MUST NEVER CONTROL OUR FUTURE, EVEN GOD GAVE US “FREE WILL”, TO USE OUR GOD GIVEN TALENTS TO TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES AND OTHERS. SOCIALISM NEVER WORKED IN RUSSIA, CHINA (WHERE THEY TELL YOU TO KILL YOUR SECOND BABY)ETC….They say: “He who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat it.” Let us keep our Republic they way… Read more »

NICK! I strongly agree with your comments and I would encourage anyone here who wants to know more of the truth about what Obama, The federal reserve, the International Monetary fund and World Bank, pick up a copy of G. Edwards Griffin’s well-documented book entitled “The Creature from Jekyll Island.” This is the island where the nation’s richest bankers met secretly in 1910 to form the federal reserve. And it’s been downhill since that fateful day. After reading this book, I can only agree with the readers here about how important it is to run every career Politician out of office and out of the country, if possible.

Folks,

The only way to “right” this ship is to hold your nose and vote Republican. I know many can find plenty of fault with the Republicans, including me. However, the Republicans never tried to imprison people for abiding by the Constitution.

It’s called freedom, and you are losing it every stroke of the minute hand with Democrats in charge.

There are just too many inept sick minded egoists sitting in the seat of congress, the Executive and to many life time job holders eating off the taxpayer funded trough in Washington.

I appreciate all of the opinions and intelligent comments I read here. Let us keep the faith. We must continue to use our voices and keep telling the truth. Our raised voices and our votes will prevail…I love this country!

Field General Yerassmus B. Brown

Short of shooting the messenger (Barry), how are we going to get rid of this cancer? The congress has to many career politicians to be able to deal with this crisis and the senate is a total waste of time. With that said, what is the military doing? They are our most plausible agents with the ability to proceed in the direction of making Washington DC do the right thing.

SORRY, HAVEN’T YOU HEARD THAT PRES. O, PURGED OUR MILITARY WITH OUR BRIGHTEST AND OLDEST GENERALS? HE HAS HIS OWN PRIVATE ARMY NOW WITH LOTS OF BULLETS. I THINK WE WILL SEE MARSHALL LAW SOON AND NO ONE CAN STOP IT. WE JUST HAVE TO BE PREPARED OR GO ABROAD FOR SAFETY, THOSE WITH DUAL CITIZENSHIP WILL BE OKAY. For us seniors, we do not have to suffer long, OBAMACARE DEATH PANEL will kill us anyway by refusing to approve life saving procedures. To those who voted for the KING, you got what you wanted a CHANGE. Enjoy it while you can…..

Cancer – yes, politicians – yes, agree with your assessments of both. But the military? That would be the saddest day in the history of this great nation if they decided to take over. Marshal Law? Pray that never, never happens. The only way to re-set the course of this nation is in the ballet box.

Kick Yourself in the Butt:
Let us not forget the Republicans outlined what Obama would do before he was elected the first time. Most of the warning are now reality. Isn’t it time for Americans to vote for those who love and protect America and not socialists. Obama was and is a socialist and it was well known by anyone who wanted to know, yet he has been elected twice. If you voted for him, kick yourself in the butt, you are part of the problem.

Remember the war between the states I believe its going to happen again . Its a sad sad state of affairs weave woven with lifetime politicians at the wheel.

I wouldn’t worry about our military exercising martial law. I would be more concerned about Homeland Security. Obama gave this organization martial law authority. Will they use it? Did the Nazi’s in Germany use it?

I’m from Oklahoma, and have seen what Government has done to Native Americans. Obama has been working on the same style of dependency for the rest of the Americans who stand with their hands out, accepting his EBT cards, free cell phones, Welfare, unemployment benefits for 4 + years, easy SSDI; and whatever else they can squeeze out. I won’t be surprised to see the word “independent” removed from the dictionary soon. His “law” wasn’t struck down by the (fixed) Supreme Court because they know it’s a ruse to get Single Payer government run health care. Plain and simple. Senator Coburn said back in 2010 that until we were rid of Harry Reid and Obama this country was in a world of hurt. He has proven to be very right. If I were a young person newly married and just starting out, I’d take the option of never having a… Read more »

Obama is a Communist. He is fundamentally changing the the country as promised.His target is to destroy the middle class. The people he is working for include the Federal Reserve and a number of Billionaires who want to rule the world. God help us.

I agree he’s Marxist and a punk that’s never had a real job.

If the majority refuses to take part-what could they do-nothing………………be brave.

Exactly right, we need to refuse to take part in any part of it!……. Why he hasn’t been impeached is beyond me!!

NO IMPEACHMENT BECAUSE THE DEMOCRATS HOLD THE MAJORITY OF THE SENATE VOTES. IT WILL BE AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITY FOR CONGRESS TO DO IT, KNOWING THAT IT WON’T PASS THE SENATE. THE ONLY WAY IS TO REPLACE ALL DEMOCRATS IN BOTH CONGRESS AND SENATE WITH INDEPENDENTS OR REPUBLICANS TO SHOW THE DEMOCRATS THAT THEY CAN NO LONGER LEAD THIS COUNTRY TO THE ABYSS. BUT VOTERS ARE STUPID, THEY LISTEN TO THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA, OR BURY THEIR HEADS IN THE SAND AND MOST ARE IN DENIAL BECAUSE OF PARTY LOYALTY. GOD BLESS US ALL…Our high school education is now 23rd in the world, our dollar is tanking, less than half of EURO, and our debts are rising in trillions every year since Obama took office. The total Americans in government handouts is more than the total population of GREECE. This never happened before big O.WATCH BIG CITIES GO IN THE DARK… Read more »
The so called “Affordable Care Act” is just that — an ACT. The bottom line and end result is a Single Payer Government run health care system. All this smoke screen and mea culpa is a joke! Obama and his merry band of thieves have planned all along to go to Government run health care. Harry Reid even stated so — and Dennis Kucinich has also said that is what they hope to achieve. naturally, being Democraps, they don’t care to spend a billion or so dollars in the interim attempting to fool people into thinking this Website run mess was what they intended to have all along. Obama has someone very rich and very powerful pulling his strings and helping him achieve his lifelong goal of a European model society completely dependent on the government. Step one is nearly complete. Unless there is a way soon to force his… Read more »

In my opinion it’s time for term limits on all elected officials to stop the career politicians from ruling the roost. I’d back up the buses and load up the 535 inept members of Congress & POTUS & VP and cart them off to prison where they belong and start over. Government is not the solution it’s the problem. Merry Christmas.

I believe we could randomly pick 535 names out of the phone book and send them to Washington and they could do a better job than the ones we elected.

I’m with you Jeff. I have said it for years. I don’t understand why the conservative talk show hosts (both TV & radio) don’t talk about this every day. I believe it to be the ultimate answer to many of the problems in Washington that bottleneck progress. Power and greed are taking us in the wrong direction. Career politicians are becoming dangerous to this country, and I don’t believe the Founding Fathers intended it to be this way. They had unbelievable foresight, but obviously didn’t consider term limits for Congress, as they did for the Presidency.

Yes, this is one mistake the founders of our country made, no term limits. But it wasn’t the founders who placed a two term limit on the Presidency. It was the Republicans after Franklin D Roosevelt had been elected to 4 terms.

hi
i am all for term limits of 8 yrs just like the presedential yrs
also very strong on voter ID
witch should be a must all over the country without exceptions

how about this: do a citizen evaluation after 2 years in office- : it would be just like voting but if the score wasn’t high enough, the president would be fired and another would be voted in( 2 years is long enough to prove your worthiness- 4-8 years is long enough to repeat all the same mistakes over and over..) The evaluation would be specifically about how the President has resolved the issues; not his color, his wife’s arms or how many pets they have in the White house..not TOO much damage can be done in 2 years;

voter ID is a must: that way, when they check your picture at the citizen evaluation, if you didn’t vote, you get no opinion at the evaluation…!!

oh. and who would fill in if the president got fired? The first runner up-not the vice president!

STICK UP for voter ID everywhere!!!!!! Voter fraud brought us this second round of Obama hell

I am so very much against EVERYTHING Obummer ( which is what I refer to him as) has done since his first illegal day in Office. Why illegal? Simple answer. HE WAS NOT BORN IN THE USA! Regardless of what his phony fake so called birth Certificate shows, HE WAS NOT BORN HERE! Period! This alone, made him ineligible to be President. Period. His former College ID cards ALL SHOW HIM as a “Foreign Student”. There is more and more evidence coming up proving that he is not entitled to even have been elected as President. Now one of the WORST things he ever did for this Country is his so called Affordable Healthcare Act.Well, it is really the Unaffordable Heath Care Act. Justice Roberts did this Country a great dis-service when he wrongly agreed to allow Obmummercare to move forward because of the supposed taxing issue. I say he… Read more »
I think it is too late now, because the same people WHO re-elected him are still there to support him and his socialist Democrats. The only way this can change is to educate the idiots our there that are the product of the mainstream media or their pockets are lined with free money from the government. This Admin. has violated the COSTITUTION that even past Pres. Carter said, we no longer have DEMOCRACY. Look for where the money is coming from for their political campaigns and you will find where the power is. It is all the more reason to educate the public, because the citizenry can still change the powers that be with their intelligent votes. Unfortunately George Soros owns the corporation that handles the voting machines and the counting OF BALLOTS which is based in Spain. Will the result even be honest? Why some States gave their contract… Read more »

all my liberal friends have drunk the coolaide. now they are hiding from the truth. we need voter id or else ‘they” will falsify the election results. it’s bad enough the residents of the cemeteries are still voting.

if we fale to take the senate ing 2014 we are doomed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Affordable Care Act is not only unconstitutional, it’s a “Black Hole.” It’s counting on the money from younger people signing-up to fund it. Since all are allegedly covered for preexisting conditions why would anyone sign-up until they discover that they have a serious illness like cancer?

the young poeple wont sign up for this SCAM
just like the rest of this obama-nocare
and then let FELONS collect our money???
what is wrong with these PUKES

A tidbit IRS cannot collect the penaly/tax through levy or other collection means except if a taxpayer is due a tax refund at which time the penalty could be deducted from that amount. Just the refusal to pay the tax is enough. In other words if tax is owed just pay the total due (including penalty) minus the penalty and IRS cannot colelct. The entire laws smells of unaffordability! Now convince a young person who pays for no health insurance to pay (subsidize)the cost for those with preexisitng conditions. obamacare is already crumbling!

Over 25 States has opt out of the exchange, so the spread of risk will not work because premiums will skyrocket for those people in the exchange. It will be like the CA Earthquake Insurance that was to handle just the 15% deductible for California homeowners which did not work and was discontinued after a year, because not very many people signed up for it. The spread of risk concept did not work, and the loss analysis showed that the State could not afford the catastrophic loss with just the premiums they received. INSURANCE IS A SPREAD OF RISKS. IF THERE AREN’T ENOUGH HEALTHY PEOPLE TO SUBSIDIZE THE SICK PEOPLE, IT WILL NEVER WORK. I think the best way is for the government to have a government program for those with pre-existing conditions and the poor to get the STATE programs to cover them, which is already done here in… Read more »

Everything that is going on is because there are more idiots voting for these traitors than people with common sense.

One very subtle fact about suppression is that people who engage in it can’t complete anything. A fact Obama and his liberal buddies validate repeatedly…Semper Fi

The problem in our country is boiled down to three words,”the Obama administration” get rid of that and we all might prosper again
Semper Fi…….

thank you for serving

We owe it to our founding Fathers who were wise,godly and American. They gave their all that America might be The Great Free Nation it has been. We must teach our children and grandchildren our history. They are brite young people that want to and will do what is right, if we will take time to invest and teach them. They need us to teach them the who,what,when,why any how America became the wonderful free country it has always been. America was established by the people, for the people. United We Stand- Divided We Will Fall. We must be educated, informed, seek Gods guidance and as the song goes STAND UP. Vote for godly men and women like our founding fathers. Vote* Vote* Vote God Bless America The Home of The Brave and Land of The Free. Freedom comes at a price, just our brave service men and women and… Read more »
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