A week from today, the Supreme Court will tell us whether it is now legally permissible for Executive Branch bureaucrats to rewrite laws that fail to fit their statist agenda. And, the unctuous posturing of Obamacare apologists notwithstanding, that’s all King v. Burwell is about. It will answer one question: Can Barack Obama and his scofflaw administration get away with enacting a statute that was never passed by Congress? Yet, listening to the President, congressional Democrats, and the media, it’s about whether “reform” will be gutted and untold millions deprived of “affordable” insurance coverage. What a bunch of sanctimonious BS.
Neither the President nor his supporters give a rat’s posterior about those who may lose their taxpayer-funded subsidies in the three-dozen states that will be affected by the ruling. What these people care about is fundamentally transforming the U.S. into a European-style social democracy. Obamacare plays a crucial role in that project, and they are willing to tell any lie or violate any principle to preserve it. They can’t admit that, so they pose as compassionate progressives filled with angst about the unfortunates who could be trodden beneath the jackboots of five “conservative” justices who may blindly insist that the law means what it says.
But, like all serial fabulists, these frauds can’t keep their lies straight. Think Progress, for example, told its readers early this year that “8 million people will lose health care” if the Court rules against the Obama administration. Two weeks later, they claimed that the butcher’s bill would be 13 million. In fact, King v. Burwell won’t deprive a single American of health coverage. Nonetheless, similarly lurid and fictitious reports continue to appear. Last Friday, Michael Tomasky wrote in the Washington Post that the Court may “yank the Medicaid subsidies away” from millions. Sorry. No sale. King will have no effect at all on that program.
The Court will cause some Obamacare enrollees to lose taxpayer-funded premium assistance if it rules that subsidies cannot be distributed via federal exchanges. But such a decision would hardly be a human tragedy. Some would have to pay the actual price of their Obamacare coverage, but many would be enabled to buy less expensive catastrophic coverage on the open market, and still others could again acquire affordable insurance through workplaces that will have been freed from the employer mandate. Despite the portentous predictions of Obamacare partisans, no one will have their health insurance plans brutally torn from bloody fingers.
That is in stark contrast to the tens of millions who actually did have their coverage forcibly taken by Obamacare. Oddly, this produced no progressive outrage. Nor was there any liberal empathy in evidence when the law subjected even more people to skyrocketing premiums. Yet these same people claim that premium increases for the far smaller number who could be affected by King would constitute a national calamity. They are again misrepresenting the facts. Sara Kliff at Vox is typical: “Separate analysis shows that without the subsidies, premiums would jump 256 percent.” Wrong again. King v. Burwell won’t increase premiums for anyone.
The premium increases will have been caused by Obamacare itself. The only difference the SCOTUS ruling can make is to require some enrollees to pay for their own insurance. But these people will have a legitimate grievance. The Obama administration has been repeatedly urged to warn them that their subsidies might be in jeopardy. The President and his minions have refused to do so. A recent survey revealed that 72 percent of the public know little or nothing about King. Thus, many at risk of losing subsidies are unaware of it because of Obama administration negligence. Somehow, this doesn’t seem to worry any of those compassionate progressives.
As to the few who know about King, they are being told by their progressive champions not to worry. The President has assured them that the Court will “play it straight,” meaning the justices will rule his way, while Obamacare’s media cheerleaders have consistently dismissed the case as frivolous. Some, like Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times, have suggested that the Court has endangered its very legitimacy by agreeing to hear the case. And it goes without saying, of course, that the plaintiffs have been subjected to countless ad hominem attacks. The Huffington Post’s Peter Dreier, for example, recently called the lead plaintiff “hypocrite of the year.”
Clearly, such people care deeply about fairness. But what if these fearless champions of social justice are full of… well… bad information? What if Chief Justice John Roberts’ uncharacteristic quietude during March’s oral arguments was a signal that he has grown tired of being bullied by these self-satisfied windbags? What if Justice Kennedy’s much-discussed question about federalism was just an offhand technical query about an interesting constitutional nuance? What, in other words, if the Court rules that the Obamacare subsidies being handed out in three-dozen states are illegal? Ironically, that’s the one scenario in which everybody wins.
The Supreme Court will have taken an important stand for the rule of law, the collapse of Obamacare in three-quarters of the states will signal the beginning of the end for that crime against democracy, and our progressive friends will have a new pretext for false piety. The latter will unquestionably reach new heights of hypocrisy. POTUS will denounce SCOTUS from the golf course, congressional Democrats will demand social justice as they board their private jets, and Pecksniffian pundits will declare Washington too dysfunctional to govern. In other words, they can still peddle their sanctimonious humbug and we get to keep America a little longer.