The Affordable Care Act required states to set up health insurance exchanges when it was passed in 2010, but 34 states refused. The federal government set up exchanges on their behalf, which seemed like a reasonable expedient at the time. This morning, however, a DC Court of Appeals ruled 2 to 1 that the ACA prohibits the IRS from offering subsidies to people who bought their insurance on federal exchanges. That includes about 70% of the people getting subsidies, meaning that 4.7 million people just got some very bad news. For reference, it also means that 70% of the people who needed Obamacare the most live in states whose governors fought it the hardest.
If Congress does not pass a stopgap funding bill today, the federal government will shut down at midnight tonight. Conventional wisdom says that will probably happen. Once Ted Cruz (R–TX) finally stopped talking, the Senate rejected a House bill that funded the government but also defunded Obamacare, returning instead a “clean” continuing resolution with no Obamacare amendments. Beaten but unbowed, the House plans to pass another funding bill that keeps the government open but repeals the medical device tax and delays implementation of Obamacare for one year. The Senate will not pass that. As of this writing, it looks like the federal government will shut down.
A group of Republican senators led by Mike Lee have signed an open letter promising to vote down any continuing resolution that contains funding to implement the Affordable Care Act. Essentially, they’ve threatened to shut down the federal government unless Obamacare is repealed, or at least defunded. Besides Lee, Marco Rubio (R–FL) and John Thune (R–SD) have signed the letter, along with an undisclosed but ostensibly large number of fellow conservatives in the Senate. The putative reason for this scorched-earth opposition is the delay of the employer mandate, which Lee et al see as proof that the Affordable Care Act cannot work as written. That delay in enforcing Obamacare was too much for the senators who are committed to repealing Obamacare, apparently. Full text of the letter after the jump.
Depending on your attitude toward philosophical idealism, pretty much everything that can be known is out there, waiting to be discovered. Like the word “discovery,” knowledge has little meaning apart from a human subjet to know it, but knowledge as object—the location of your old apartment keys, what went wrong with Amelia Earhart’s plane, the mass of an undiscovered planet—is out there, waiting to be figured. Today is Friday, and the weekend, defined by possibility and inactivity, is upon us. Who knows what the future will reveal? I’m still trying to catch up with the past. Won’t you look back forward with me?
I’m as surprised as you: the Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The individual mandate is constitutional, albeit on the grounds that it is a tax and not a mandate. But no matter—minus some sticky stuff about federal coercion of the states to expand Medicare, health care reform stands, kit if not caboodle. “It is painful to recognize that the liberties which our forefathers fought a revolution to secure have been lost,” Karen Harned of the National Federation of Independent Businesses writes, “But it is clear that our original constitutional system has been thrown out, and we are left with only the democratic process to preserve our rights.” Let the hyperbole