Ever since Hillary Clinton dropped a fifty pound document describing a new health plan for America back when her husband was president, the Republicans have been dead-set against anything that comes between a patient and their insurance company. People like to say "America is #1", but the reality is that about the only things we're number one at are things not to be proud of, including bankruptcies because of medical bills.
That hasn't stopped the Republicans from trying to prevent any sort of healthcare reforms or health insurance regulations. When they couldn't stop the ACA from becoming law, they made it their life mission to destroy it. Over fifty votes later in the Republican-controlled House, they still haven't been able to repeal it.
What they haven't been able to accomplish via legislative means they might actually accomplish via the courts (or - in their words - "legislating from the bench", which they rail against until it goes their way). In two oddly conflicting court rulings yesterday
, the court ruled that subsidizing Congress-members' insurance was ok
, but insurance premium subsidies are not ok
for states that did not implement the exchanges. So what does this mean?
The text of the latter lawsuit
spells out the complaint fairly clearly. The subsidy was meant to encourage states to enact the exchanges. When many states did not, the federal government decided to provide them anyway. The lawsuit alleges that this "illegal" subsidy hurts those who would have been granted a hardship exemption from having to carry insurance, so they are essentially "forced" into paying for insurance that they can't afford, even with the subsidy.
How many people are upset that they are getting good insurance for a small premium? Not too many, I suspect, but those that would prefer to be uninsured (to their own detriment) have forced the issue, and the court sided with them.
For now, the Obama Administration is going to continue to provide the subsidies
while this inevitably makes its way to the Supreme Court. Considering recent court rulings, I shudder to think what will end up happening. I can see the court ruling for the plaintiffs, and millions of Americans once again being forced to choose between food and medicine. It's hard to fathom we would regress to that, but there are those in this country that would consider that a step in the right direction.
America is certainly number one in stupid, vindictive, mean-spirited, selfish assholes. That's something to be proud of. Where can I get that on a T-shirt with an American flag?