As the U.S. Supreme Court today listened to highly anticipated oral arguments in the case of King v. Burwell, one could read commentary on both sides of the issue, suggesting it would be a good or bad thing should the court “gut” ObamaCare when it rules on the case later this year.
According to the plain language of the ObamaCare statute, more formally known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), subsidies are available for certain health care plans purchased through exchanges established by one of the fifty states. The statute contains no provision for subsidies to be made available via federal health care exchanges. If the court interprets the ACA as written, it will rule in favor of the plaintiff and against the Obama administration. But regardless of how it rules, the court will in fact not be gutting ObamaCare.
If they rule in favor of the plaintiff in this case, the justices, far from gutting the statute, will simply be restoring one portion of its original wording, as passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress and signed into law by President Obama himself. ObamaCare may well be the single worst piece of legislation ever signed into law by a U.S. President, one that, among its many faults, allows for no federally provided subsidies; but that is a problem the Democrats hoisted on themselves, and sadly upon the American people. Still, this would provide an opportunity for the new Republican-controlled Congress to step in and propose solutions to the ongoing debacle that is ObamaCare.
If, on the other hand, the justices rule in favor of the Obama administration, they will legitimize a form of executive overreach whereby America’s current President, as well as future Presidents, can unilaterally make changes to duly passed legislation when they find laws as written to be either too inconvenient or politically inexpedient. The President would ultimately supplant congress as de facto author of legislation. About that our constitution is quite clear – the drafting and passage of legislation shall rest with the Congress, not the President. One is hard pressed to imagine a more fundamental transformation of our constitutional republic than what the Obama administration proposes in this case, or a more disconcerting one.Follow @PolitiQuick