In this instance, Turley's smoke signal concerns Halbig v. Burwell, a case winding its way through the federal courts and soon to be decided at the D.C. Circut Court of Appeals. The case challenges the Obama administration's decision to grant subsidies to all Obamacare enrollees.
Halbig v. Burwell is no Hobby Lobby, Turley warns. It poses what may be a mortal blow to Obamacare.
Some background: When crafting Obamacare, legislators included incentives for the states so they'd create their own health insurance exchanges. One incentive: The federal government would subsidize those individuals enrolling in health insurance exchanges "established by the state."
Ooppsss...a strategic error. Those legislators crafting Obamacare seem to have miscalculated, as 34 states decided not to set up exchanges, leaving the federal government having to provide all of those folks healthcare insurance. However, enrollees residing in those 34 states aren't be eligible for the subsidies because those states didn't establish exchanges. So, given the original Obamacare business model, too many Americans won't be able to afford the law's mandatory health insurance. The outcome? Obamacare could go belly up.
Knowing this, Turley notes, the administration unilaterally decided not only to ignore that element of Obamacare. In addition, the administration declared that every enrollee would be eligible for a federal subsidy, even those residing in states that didn't establish their own exchanges. What's the clever turn of phrase the administration has used to defend its unilateral change in Obamacare? The phrase "exchanges established by the state" refers to every exchange, including the one the federal government established. After all, isn't the federal government THE Omnipotent State?
So, once again, it depends upon what the Court decides the word "is" is.
Turley warns that if the administration loses, enrollees across the United States will face immediate higher healthcare insurance costs as well as potentially be exempted from the mandate. Additionally, the federal government--THE Omnipotent State--has already paid billions of dollars in subsidies that it wasn't authorized to pay.
Imagine the IRS trying to collect those payments back to the Treasury. Good luck with that one!
Keep a sharp eye focused like a laser on the D.C. Circut Court of Appeals decision in Halbig v. Burwell. If Professor Turley is sending up a smoke signal to liberals, Obamacare may soon experience a broadside that makes the Hobby Lobby decision look like mere child's play.
Let the discussion begin...
To read Professor Turley's op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, click on the following link:
"Get Ready for an Even Bigger Threat to Obamacare."