Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
For there IS joy in Teaville…
…A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled 2-to-1 along party lines that subsidies for health insurance premiums made available under the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) are only available to those who purchased their coverage in state-based exchanges, invalidating the 4.7 million citizens who used the federal exchange and therefore… …they have been shut out.
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In this case, the “favored land” where the sun is shining and hearts are light, is the land of Tea Party Republicans who are falling all over themselves celebrating this decision that puts the health – and lives – of millions in jeopardy. And, as usual, it is those who are favored who reap the benefits. Nothing gives right-wingers more undiluted ecstasy than making life even more difficult for people on the lower end of the income scale. These are the same people who cheer executions and holler and spit at children. You know, conservative “Christians.” Even the GOP judges recognized the potential hardship they were creating:
“Our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly.”
The good news is that this ruling means very little at the present time. First of all, it was stayed by the court pending an expected appeal. Secondly, the administration will likely request an “en banc” hearing by all eleven members of the court. Presently the court has seven judges appointed by Democrats and four by Republicans. This, by the way, was made possible when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid removed the super-majority requirement for judicial appointments. Prior to that Republicans were filibustering nearly all of President Obama’s nominees, and even proposed eliminating the three vacancies on the D.C. court. Subsequent to Reid’s maneuver, three of Obama’s nominees received a majority vote and were seated on the court that will re-hear this ruling.
Finally, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia ruled today on the very same issue and found that the federal subsidies were proper and intended by the Congress when the law was passed. As it stands now there are two courts of appeal that have arrived at opposing decisions, but the en banc review by the D.C. court is likely to agree with the 4th Circuit. If so, both courts will have upheld the subsidies. That is significant should additional appeals be brought to the Supreme Court. There is no telling where the Supreme Court might come down, but there is a possibility that they won’t even take the case if two appeals courts agree that there is no constitutional issue.
Whatever the outcome of the legal wrangling, this is another opportunity to observe the right-wing at their worst. They are palpably giddy over the prospect of millions of Americans becoming either uninsured or bankrupt. This is an issue that can have some play in the midterm elections as the threat hanging over the heads of these citizens weighs on their political decisions. In Florida and Texas alone there are 1.5 million people who could lose their insurance. Those are highly motivated votes for Democrats in November making both states more likely to turn blue. Now we just have to get the rest of the Democrats to get motivated and VOTE!