How Obamacare Might Be Defeated by Republican Resistance

The Supreme Court might destroy Obamcare because of Republican resistance to government money.

supreme court

USA Today has a write-up of the Supreme Court Case that supposedly might destroy Obamacare: “Four words that could deep-six Obamacare.”

The most serious challenge to President Obama’s health care law since it survived the Supreme Court by a single vote in 2012 isn’t a balky website, public opinion or the Republican takeover of Congress. It’s the Supreme Court — again.

In a case likely to be heard in March and decided in June, the justices will dissect the meaning of four words on page 95 of the 906-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — four words that could render health insurance premiums unaffordable for millions of Americans.

Because it is about a Supreme Court case, the issue is usually explained in terms of an odd technicality in the law. The article in USA Today is no exception.

But even though the decision hinges on a Supreme Court decision, we need to realize that the only reason the case is before the Supreme Court is because Republicans made a heroic decision that caught Democrats completely by surprise.

The law states that tax credits will be available through so-called exchanges, or online marketplaces, “established by the State.” When it was being crafted, it was assumed that all 50 states would create their own exchanges. After it passed in March 2010, it became clear that many states would rely on the federal government to operate them, as the law allows.


To back up their claim that Congress meant what it said — that it wasn’t simply a drafting error — the law’s opponents say lawmakers purposely made tax credits available only in state-run exchanges as an incentive for governors and legislatures to create their own exchanges. Otherwise, the argument goes, their residents would get cheated out of a major benefit.

That is exactly right. Obamacare was designed to look voluntary but to pressure the states into establishing state exchanges in order to get subsidies. It was unthinkable to the regime that states would refuse “free” money.

And it didn’t work. Republican governors and legislatures did the unthinkable: they refused to be bribed into cooperating with Obamacare. When the IRS ruled that the users of the Federal exchange would get subsidies, the Democrats were admitting that they had lost a game of “chicken” with Republican governors—and were trying to find a way to salvage the program.

[See also, “Obama Administration Tries to Save Obamacare Birth Control Mandate.”]

So, if the Supreme Court does the right thing on this one, it will be because a massive number of politicians all acted against free benefits from the government.

So, sometimes, the expanding state really can be defied. Let’s pray the Supreme Court honors this victory by making the right decision.