Good News, Obamacare Fans

Those who support the Affordable Care Act and think it’s good policy for the country can breathe a little easier today after Dick Morris, the most inaccurate pundit in all of punditdom, predicted in an op-ed in The Hill that the law was going to be destroyed by a lawsuit filed by Oklahoma.

Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma, acting on the research of Jonathan H. Adler and Michael F. Cannon published in the Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, has brought a new lawsuit, on behalf of the state, against ObamaCare.

Unlike the suit brought by 26 state attorneys general, this lawsuit does not make a constitutional objection to the Affordable Care Act. Instead, it uses the language of the law to challenge the elaborate system of subsidies, tax credits and individual or employer mandates and fines the act has spawned.

Adler and Cannon studied the actual text of the law — something Congress never did — and found that it explicitly provided a subsidy only to those who receive their insurance through state exchanges. Indeed, the subsidies and tax credits were intended to be the carrot that induced states to set up exchanges rather than force the feds to set up their own.

The Internal Revenue Service has ruled that the language of the statute should be “interpreted” to extend the subsidies to those enrolled in state or federal exchanges, but that’s not what the law says. Section 1401 of the act, according to their article, “authorizes premium-assistance tax credits and makes them available only through state-run Exchanges.”

Not exactly a legal scholar, the brave Mr. Morris. Even if that suit succeeds (and it might), I don’t know why he thinks that would have any effect on “individuals or employer mandates and fines the act has spawned.” It would conceivably do away with subsidies for those in states that rely on federal health care exchanges because the legislatures of their state said, in essence, “screw poor people without health insurance.” But it has absolutely nothing to do with the individual mandate or the employer mandate.

Morris’ atrocious track record as a predictor of the future — he predicted a landslide for Romney last year, for example — should make fans of Obamacare sleep a little better at night.

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  • Michael Heath

    Dick Morris asserts:

    Adler and Cannon studied the actual text of the law — something Congress never did . . .

    That’s wildly untrue. And if he actually believes that, this assertion demonstrates an incredible amount of ignorance regarding how legislation is developed. Here’s he’s demonstrating idiocy and naivety equal to the “Read the Bills” morons.

  • …he predicted a landslide for Romney last year, for example…

    To be fair, he would have won in a landslide, if he’d gotten a lot more votes.

  • dogmeat


    That claim seems to be a big one on the wing-nut circuit. Something to the effect that Obama somehow wrote the legislation and then managed to force congress to pass it while not allowing them to read it. Shows a complete lack of understanding of how the legislative works, and a disturbing authoritarian streak. From what I can discern, it comes from the dishonest misrepresentation of the Pelosi statement regarding the need for the senate to pass their bill before she and the house could know what is in it.

  • dogmeat, and she already knew what was in it.*

    * Socialism.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    … Dick Morris, the most inaccurate pundit in all of punditdom…

    We’ll need a careful count of failed predictions and false descriptions before calling on Bill Kristol to relinquish his crown.

  • Joey Maloney

    Even if Morris were to have the edge in numbers, Kristol still wins a consequentialist evaluation. His wrongness has literally killed hundreds of thousands. The only thing Morris has ever killed is his own good name. Well, that and my appetite a couple of times during that whole hooker-toe-sucking story.

  • trucreep

    The legislature in Michigan would be funny if they weren’t so sleazy. I’m sure this is how it went in most states that are relying on the federal exchange, but in Michigan we had the fortunes of watching the GOP say “we’re going to repeal it,” to, “the Supreme Court will rule it unconstitutional,” to, “Mitt Romney is going to win and repeal it,” to, “the government won’t actually pay us back for it,” to where we are now! Aren’t they wonderful????

    I will say in fairness, our Republican Governor Rick Snyder had been pushing to get the state exchanges set up the entire time.

  • Nemo

    Retaining the mandate but losing the subsidy for the federal exchanges seems like a bad result to me.