Determining the legality of federal-exchange subsidies rests with SCOTUS, but there’s a catch:
But King v. Burwell could upend the president’s plans. That’s the case, now on the Supreme Court’s docket, contesting the legality of subsidy payments to people in states that chose not to build their own Obamacare insurance exchanges. A decision against the government’s provision of the subsidies would undermine the law in the 37 affected states and, in the process, disrupt insurance for millions of people who signed up for coverage on the assumption that the subsidies would be available to them.
The blame for the mess that would surely ensue should rightfully fall on the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress. Congressional Democrats wrote the statute on their own, and the administration has enforced it. If the Court rules that the statute was written carelessly and enforced lawlessly, Democrats will have no one to blame but themselves.
Authors James Carpetta Yuval Levin are being far too kind — the Democrats will do nothing of the kind. Already they’ve telegraphed their game plan which — surprise! — blame it all on Republics.
Never you mind that a law written by Democrats, signed by Democrats, and enacted by Democrats was designed at its very core with a stick (the states had to set up their own exchanges to get the subsidies) so flimsy that 37 states said “No thanks.” Instead, the Democrats will blame the Republican justices for gutting the law, and blame the GOP Congress for not fixing the law. “A simple fix,” they’ll say oh-so-reasonably.
The idea is twofold. First, to salvage their craptaculently written law. The second is more subtle and probably more effective politically. If the GOP doesn’t “fix” what the Democrats broke, it becomes an effective campaign issue because the evil GOP is taking away the coverage the Democrats so generously provided, and corpses of old people and babies will stack up on America’s streets. Alternately, Republican lawmakers will vote to restore the subsidies, retroactively becoming complicit in the creation of ♡bamaCare!!!. Not one Republican voted for the law in 2010, but how many of them will vote to save it in 2015?
And just how great of a wedge issue is that for the Democrats, splitting the GOP from their anti-♡bamaCare!!! base — especially with the Complicit Media helping the Democrats do their dirty work.
It’s a trap, of course, and the GOP should stick to their guns and offer complete repeal & replace bills. That would set up a monster, and potentially winnable fight with the White House. On the other hand, falling into the trap would be tantamount to party suicide.
I make no guesses which road the Grand Old Party will follow, but I did double up on this month’s Tito’s ration just in case.