I like the ACA. I wish it went farther to actually be a single payer plan.
But the SCOTUS was wrong.
The text in the ACA was clear. Income-based subsidies were to be provided to citizens using exchanges established by the states. I'm guessing they expected every state would create its own exchange, but only 16 states did. If the writers of the law realized that most states wouldn't establish their own exchange, would they have changed that language? Probably. The intent was to provide subsidies to all who needed them. But that's not the wording.
Roberts called the phrase at issue "ambiguous". It's not. It's very clear. He says himself, the "most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase" would only give subsidies to those using state establed exchanges. It's only ambiguous if you believe the only acceptable outcome is to keep the ACA going and so you have to work backwards from there.
Judges are to rule based on the text of the laws, only go to intent if the text is unclear or contradictory. This set a precedent that allows judges to rewrite legislation to "fix" it. And that's a VERY dangerous precedent.
I'm glad the ACA lives. I think we're going to regret this decision in the future.
Posted on June 25, 2015, 8:56 am
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