Much Ado About Nothing

Posted: July 22, 2014 by Marner in Conservative Shenanigans, Current Events, Health Care, Politics
Tags: ,

Earlier today, the wingnuts thought they had scored a victory in their battle to deny poor Americans affordable health insurance with a ruling from the DC Appeals Court. Even the mainstream news and liberal websites were using apocalyptic language to describe the ruling, but it turns out to mean just a little less than jack shit. Two Republican judges on a three-judge panel ruled that the federal government can’t provide subsidies to people who sign up for health insurance on the federal exchange. Their ruling is based on ignoring the precedent that an ambiguous law must be interpreted by looking at the legislative intent and that deference is given to the manner in which the regulatory agency interprets the law. The ruling isn’t surprising, since one of the Republican judges previously said the ACA was an “unmitigated disaster” and that premium cost have sky-rocketed. Both of these claims fly directly in the face of the facts, so we shouldn’t be shocked when this judge proves to not be an impartial trier of facts. The dissenting judge, however, plainly states what this case is all about, a “not-so-veiled attempt to gut” the ACA.

So when the story broke, the wingnuts began their celebration, going so far as to call it a “deathknell” for the ACA. Reports of the ACA’s demise have been greatly exaggerated for several reasons.

First, this ruling is by a three-judge panel of the DC Appeals Court. The government will file for a hearing before the full court, which will rule in the government’s favor since it isn’t dominated by conservative ideologues wanting to take away people’s health insurance. Second, another court, the 4th Circuit Court, also ruled today on ACA subsidies and found them to be legal. Third, there is a good chance the Supreme Court will not even hear an appeal. When the full DC Circuit Court rules in the government’s favor, the score will be 2-0 against the wingnuts. The Supreme Court will not have conflicting lower court opinions to resolve and could easily choose not to hear any appeals and let the lower courts’ rulings stand. At that point it is game over for those who want to force poor people out of their health insurance.

So, as is usually the case, don’t take the headlines and initial reports at face value. They generally turn out to be wrong, and in this case, much ado about nothing.

P.S. In other news that will depress the wingnuts, an estimated 20 million people have received health insurance through the ACA.

UPDATE: In the extreme unlikelihood that this purely partisan opinion is validated by the Supreme Court in the future, there is a rather simple way to negate it. A state only has to pass a one-line bill saying that for all purposes the federal exchange is the state’s exchange.

  1. An amusing side note regarding conservatives is their frequent insistence that the Constitution be interpreted by going back to what the framers meant when questions of ambiguity arise. How many times do they bring this up when things aren’t going there way? Now in this case, they take the exact opposite point of view. The authors of the ACA are still alive, unlike the Founders, and they have expressed what the clause in question meant, but it makes no matter to conservatives. Because they are ideologically and politically motivated hypocrites.

    • meursault1942 says:

      It’s definitely amusing to watch the wingnuts cheer for judicial activism, which they claim to loathe — and it’s doubly amusing to see them cheer such a pointless and futile bit of judicial activism. But they’ve gotta take what they can get, I suppose. In the meantime, we have plenty of quotes from them about how great they think it’s going to be to take away people’s health care. Good times, good times….

      • rustybrown2012 says:

        What’s with conservatives these days? Are they purposefully trying to portray themselves as dicks? From climate denial to anti-contraception to celebrating the poor losing health care, it almost seems like they want to alienate themselves from voters. Traditionally, they should do well in the midterm elections, but based on their actions they’re losing ground as the days go by. It’s like they can’t prevent themselves from revealing what terrible people they are, like a Tourette Syndrome for assholes. Good times indeed…

      • mitchethekid says:

        Tourette’s for assholes! hahaha

      • 02casper says:

        The poor don’t make enough to afford health insurance so obviously, they don’t deserve it. So losing it means nothing to conservatives.

      • meursault1942 says:

        “What’s with conservatives these days? Are they purposefully trying to portray themselves as dicks? From climate denial to anti-contraception to celebrating the poor losing health care, it almost seems like they want to alienate themselves from voters.”

        I read an interesting comment not too long ago (that I now can’t find…of course) about the theory of Pure Remnant Theology. The gist of it is that a church should drive out moderates, squishes, and basically everybody who isn’t sufficiently fervent in their faith. Those people are holding the church back, you see, and once they’re gone, the purity of the remaining hardcore will allow the inherent greatness of the church to shine through, and once people see that, they will flock to the church, this time with sufficient fervency. So you make the church smaller in order to make it larger in the long run.

        There are some serious flaws with that logic, obviously, but conservatives seem to be following it, what with the constant purging of “RINOs” (i.e. anybody who doesn’t immediately jump on board with the Deranged Talking Point Du Jour) and alienation of moderates.

        Meanwhile, LGM has a good rundown of just how much stupidity the DC Appeals Court decision requires. Isn’t it interesting how so many conservative views are fully reliant upon not knowing things, or at least not understanding them (or pretending not to understand them)?

      • mitchethekid says:

        Two more examples of conservative genius. NRA spokesman says children should be taught how to shoot before they can move on to the next grade in school. And there should be guns mandatory zones, not gun free.Right. And to reduce gun deaths, lets arm everyone.
        Noonan blames “the left” for the murder in NY by the choke hold cop. Someone should choke hold him.

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