Scott Pruitt, Attorney General of the state of Oklahoma, filed a lawsuit against Kathleen Sibelius over the implementation of Obamacare.
In an article in last month’s WSJ, he explained why:
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.
And Pruitt observes:
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.
In his WaPo column George Will explains how this could doom the ACA:
Because under the ACA, insurance companies cannot refuse coverage because of an individual’s preexisting condition. Because many people might therefore wait to purchase insurance after they become sick, the ACA requires a mandate to compel people to buy insurance. And because many people cannot afford the insurance that satisfies the ACA’s criteria, the ACA mandate makes it necessary to provide subsidies for those people.
The four words that threaten disaster for the ACA say the subsidies shall be available to persons who purchase health insurance in an exchange “established by the state.” But 34 states have chosen not to establish exchanges.
Only 16 states chose to form exchanges, 34 did not. Will notes, almost certainly accurately, that the language of the ACA was written to coerce states into forming exchanges:
The IRS says its “interpretation” — it actually is a revision — of the law is “consistent with,” and justified by, the “structure of” the ACA. The IRS means that without its rule, the ACA would be unworkable and that Congress could not have meant to allow this. The ACA’s legislative history, however, demonstrates that Congress clearly — and, one might say, with malice aforethought — wanted subsidies available only through state exchanges.
Some have suggested that the language limiting subsidies to state-run exchanges is a drafting error. Well.
Some of the ACA’s myriad defects do reflect its slapdash enactment, which presaged its chaotic implementation. But the four potentially lethal words were carefully considered and express Congress’s intent.
Congress made subsidies available only through state exchanges as a means of coercing states into setting up exchanges.
And the illegality?
By dispensing subsidies through federal exchanges, the IRS will spend tax revenues without congressional authorization. And by enforcing the employer mandate in states that have only federal exchanges, it will collect taxes — remember, Chief Justice John Roberts saved the ACA by declaring that the penalty enforcing the mandate is really just a tax on the act of not purchasing insurance — without congressional authorization.
And here’s the potentially apocalyptic part:
If the IRS can do neither, it cannot impose penalties on employers who fail to offer ACA-approved insurance to employees.
If the IRS can do both, Congress can disband because it has become peripheral to American governance.
Allowing this to stand as written makes Congress obsolete. This country would be ruled by Obama and the IRS. If it something entirely absent in a law could be interpreted as being in the law it’s over. The floodgates of Hell would be opened. The IRS would be judge, jury and executioner, able to “interpret” law as Obama desires and spend and collect as Obama directed. The IRS is corrupt and unaccountable now and such a ruling would end what little control that currently exists.
It would be the end of freedom and the end of the Republic and grant Obama that which he so avariciously seeks.
image courtesy morallowground.com