Obamacare

SCOTUS Upholds Obamacare Subsidies 6-3

By on 6.25.15 | 12:04PM

I'm not sure if I'm always the contrarian on this or I've just become so cynical that it's almost impossible to surprise me with a "good" result, but today's 6-3 ruling, in favor of maintaining Federal subsidies for state healthcare exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act is hardly shocking. 

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts determined that Congress, while too dumb to put it into words, intended to create a system that provided Federal subsidies to even those who were forced to use state healthcare exchanges to purchase their insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act. The majority of the court agreed with Roberts (except for Scalia, who is basically turning into that guy from Scarface every time he writes a dissent). 

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the court's majority opinion and was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

A Thought for GOP Healthcare Alternative

By on 1.29.15 | 10:38AM

Even though it defies the definition of insurance, exemplifies socialism, and is a huge driver of high insurance premiums (as it should be), Republicans are unlikely to brave the political heat required to remove Obamacare's "guaranteed issue" provision which functionally forces health insurers to cover pre-existing medical conditions.

As it stands today, you can be uninsured, learn you have a disease, buy "insurance", and saddle the rest of the insured population with your medical costs. It's like allowing someone to buy car insurance after an accident or homeowners insurance while the roof is on fire. As a business model, it is insane. As public policy it's only less insane to the degree that you can fool voters into thinking that the costs of the policy are minimal and that insurance companies are evil and deserve whatever happens to them. Sadly, it's all to easy to fool voters.

So, like all "free" goodies, guaranteed issue popular with voters who see things as free when they're simply paid for by others.

Healthcare.gov Sells Your Personal Data To Basically Everyone

By on 1.22.15 | 11:33AM

I was most of the way through my bottle of wine by 9pm CST on Tuesday, but I'm fairly sure that a major part of Obama's State of the Union proposals, made with regard to technology, centered around protecing Americans from cunning and dastardly commercial data companies who harvest your Internet preferences without your consent and sell them in bulk to major retailers who then use them to determine which products they can successfully market to you through social media. It's how one click over to Neiman Marcus's website to check on how much Michelle Obama's Michael Kors suit cost has managed to fill my Facebook news feed with ads begging me to drop $3K on something that looks like a Chanel knock-off Hazmat suit.

Anyway, the White House, which has often used micro-targeting data in its own campaigns wants to require companies to inform consumers that their data is being collected, and subsequently, allow those same consumers to opt out.

Jonathan Gruber is Sorry He Called You Stupid

By on 12.9.14 | 12:54PM

Jonathan Gruber is testifying before Congress today about his role in constructing and passing the Affordable Care Act. You should know all about this, because the Administration released a memo detailing how the Bush-era CIA used Enhanced Interrogation Techniques including something I don't want to get into titled "rectal feeding" to obtain information in the War on Terror, that pretty much every news outlet is covering instead of Jonathan Gruber testifying before Congress.

Now, don't get me wrong. The Torture Memo is important. So important, in fact, it probably shouldn't have been used to detract from hearing on how the Administration and Congressional Democrats, along with their advisors, may have misled the American public on heath care reform. But I digress. Jonathan Gruber is testifying today, and he has a very special message for all of you idiots out there, who were duped into believing Obamacare was actually about improving your health care system: he's sorry.

Jonathan Gruber: Yes, I Totally Met With Barack Obama Over Healthcare

By on 11.17.14 | 1:40PM

As has happened with many other disastrous events in his Presidency, the President just heard this weekend that Jonathan Gruber made some strange comments about his involvement with Obamacare that were caught on tape. He was reading the Sunday New York Times for the theater reviews and there it was. And, America, it was most certainly the first time he's been told anything about it. He has yet to decide whether there will be hell to pay, but America, he's definitely considering it

Of course, his immediate reaction was predictable, if extraordinarily nuanced. You see, although Gruber was a well-paid consultant on the Affordable Care Act, he was never actually on the White House payroll as a staff member, and so when asked, and so Barack Obama believes he can comfortably distancehimself from Gruber's deep thoughts on marketing strategy. 

White House: Jonathan Gruber Had Nothing to do With Obamacare, We Swear

By on 11.13.14 | 12:19PM

Jonathan Gruber broke his silence yesterday with an interview on MSNBC, but the "stupidity of the American voter" is still dogging the White House, because while nearly everyone might believe that our representative democracy is run largely by idiots, most people - namely the Democratic voters that helped to pass Obamacare - don't like to hear it said outright. Because, when you think about it, it wasn't really Republican voters he was talking about. None of them were gung-ho about government-administered healthcare, regardless of Gruber's slick comic-book presentation.

Obamacare Architect Says Law Passed Because You’re All Stupid

By on 11.10.14 | 12:02PM

We learned on Friday that the Supreme Court will take up an appeal from the Fourth Circuit in the case of King v. Burwell, even though there's no split between the circuits on how to handle Obamacare's subsidies, when they're handed out to people in a state that doesn't set up their own Obamacare insurance exchange. The crux of that problem? Apparently, Democrats were in such a hurry to pass the legislation before anyone read it, that they failed to read it themselves, resulting in some unclear language that might not pass Constitutional muster: they limited the subsidies, allowing them to only apply to participants in state exchanges. According to Obamacare's architect Jonathan Gruber, that was totally just a typo.

Constitutional Opinions

Obamacare Was Designed to Punish Uncooperative States

By 7.29.14

It all comes down to four crucial words. In 2009, as the Affordable Care Act was being rammed through the Senate, those words made their way into the statutory behemoth. The law says that the federal government has the power to dole out premium-lowering subsidies through those insurance exchanges “established by the State.” Now that thirty-six states have declined to set up exchanges, the implication is that those who purchase insurance from the federal HealthCare.gov website are, under the text of the law, ineligible for the tax credits. Their premiums would be much higher.

Fool Me Once, Shame On You; Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me; Fool Me Thrice, Shame on Gruber

By on 7.28.14 | 3:58PM

As the fallout continues over last week’s Halbig decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, so does the walking back of words by Obamacare architect and MIT professor Dr. Jonathan Gruber. The case, which ended with a ruling that Obamacare subsidies can't be distributed in federal exchanges, has the potential to send the health care law into a death spiral. While the right-wing blogosphere celebrated, many on the left and Gruber himself were quick to deflect.

But now they may have an even bigger problem on their hands.

Before the release of contradictory video evidence, Gruber went on MSNBC to defend the law that he helped craft:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Jonathan, was this a typo saying that only if you had a state exchange you could get a subsidy and therefore be required to participate or was it some significant policy decision not to include states that didn't have exchanges?

Architect of Obamacare Says Subsidies Were Only Intended for State Exchanges

By on 7.25.14 | 2:55PM

Earlier this week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the subsidies dispensed by the IRS through Obamacare's federal exchanges were illegal. As the debate raged through the wonk blogs, the left tried to downplay the significance of the case. One of their staple talking points was asking members of the conservative media to find an example of anyone saying that the subsidies were supposed to be limited to state exchanges. Well, over at Reason, an example has been found.

Last night, video surfaced of Johnathan Gruber undermining the entire premise of the government's argument for Obamacare. First, who is Gruber? Reason explains his role:

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