Monday, June 29, 2015

What King V. Burwell was Really About—Hint: It Wasn’t the Subsidies

With ObamaCare subsidies being upheld by the Supreme Court, it’s worth noting just what the case, known as King vs. Burwell, was really all about.

Back in March, the New Jersey Star-Ledger editorialized Paying attention, Supreme Court? Then leave Obamacare alone. The Star-Ledger explains the issue:

The short version: The U.S. government, through, funds policies bought on a federal exchange in the 37 states that did not set up their own marketplace. But the law includes a line that stipulates subsidies should be provided in any exchange "established by the State." Those four words suggest that coverage purchased through in the federal marketplace is not eligible for a subsidy.

The Star-Ledger’s argument, in essence, was that the Supreme Court should uphold the subsidies, because those “four of the 11.5 million words in the law are merely a drafting error.” Instead of judging the case based on a clear, objective understanding of the words in the law, the Star-Ledger argued, the Supreme Court should take a pragmatic approach. The law “works,” the Star-Ledger says, so it should be upheld.

I left these comments:

“The shame of it is that the law works better than anyone has a right to expect.”

ObamaCare is a rights-violating, authoritarian program. Like all forms of authoritarianism, you can always find people for whom the law “works”—i.e., profiteer on the injustice done to others. ObamaCare certainly can be said to “work” for those receiving ObamaCare subsidies, as Soviet communism “worked” for those lucky enough to belong to The Party.

But this lawsuit is about something much deeper and much more important to the future of America and our liberties than ObamaCare technicalities. That’s because those 4 words—“established by the State”—are not mere technicalities: They are the law, as established by the Obama Democrats themselves.  

For a much more honest understanding of what’s at stake in this ruling, check out David Catron at The American Spectator. Catron says it much better than I can. So I’ll quote him rather than paraphrase. In "King v. Burwell Is Much Bigger Than Obamacare,” Catron writes that “The Supreme Court is about to decide whether we are a nation of laws or men.” After citing John Adams—America is “a nation of laws and not of men”—Catron wrote:

[T]he President conducts himself in a manner utterly inconsistent with republican principles and his constitutional oath. Obama obviously believes the law is what he says it is, a delusion evidently shared by his party and the press. He behaves as if he possesses the power to unilaterally change laws and create new ones merely because the opposition party actually opposes his agenda. Adams characterized such behavior as that of “a despot, bound by no law or limitation but his own will; it is a stretch of tyranny beyond absolute monarchy.”

This is, at its core, what King v. Burwell is about. It has nothing do with any “plot to kill health care,” as the New York Times recently put it. Nor does it involve a surreptitious conspiracy to reinvigorate the “states’ rights” movement, as it was described last week in Politico. It isn’t even an attack on Obamacare, though a ruling in favor of David M. King and his fellow plaintiffs would obviously have a profound effect on the future of the “reform” law. It is rather an attempt to prevent the President from doing further violence to the Constitution.

Specifically, it is about the separation of powers doctrine.

Every American should be concerned about separation of powers. If Obama wanted the law changed, he should have gone back to Congress. Unfortunately, Leftist ObamaCare dogmatists aren’t concerned about the rule of law, individual rights, or justice—just power.

Related Reading:

Is ObamaCare "Working"?

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