To recap: The conservatives say PPACA didn’t authorize the IRS to grant tax credits to recipients in states without exchanges. Liberals say … thats what it says, but it was a drafting error or what we ended up doing is a logical extension of the law ….blah blah… a typically weasely postmodern argument. But the liberals are explicit in claiming people in states without exchanges were not meant or intended to be barred from subsidies.
Problematic for liberals is this early 2012 tape of Jonathon Gruber where his explanation is in harmony with the conservative critics now:
Thing is…. There’s a lot of room for weasel words here, and Gruber is using that room.
Subsidies coming with state exchanges wasn’t actually overlooked prior to the law’s passage. I recall various discussions. The Ben Nelson brouhaha made for a few legislative sops to 10th amendment federalism, and I think this was one of them. Ostensibly states could opt out of PPACA by not establishing an exchange.
Understand, and what Gruber’s old tape makes clear, is that this was pretty much an insincere legislative throwaway written in to protect a few red state Democrats. The practical calculation was that with so much money going to the states, there was no perceived possibility any would refuse to build the exchanges.
This is what Gruber… and others in recent days… are saying now when they say people in states without exchanges were not meant or intended to be barred from subsidies. Not that the law doesn’t say what it says and ostensibly mean what it says. They’re saying they didn’t expect any states would refuse to build the exchanges, and that they wouldn’t have wanted applicants to be barred from subsidies for that reason.
So no, it’s not a ‘lie’ type lie. But it’s not an answer to the legal critique being made.
Look, I’m actually sympathetic to that, given the goals of PPACA… a little sympathetic. But it’s not acceptable, and not an adequate rationale for a court victory in this. You don’t get to bargain in bad faith, pass the law, the implement it differently.
Re my aforementioned ‘sympathy’, I’m led to ponder…. I am noodling around the idea of ‘progress’ and what manifestations of societal progress exactly are. Then also, what it means to be conservative and opposed. Describe it even better, say ‘recalcitrant’. Which is to be indeed conservative but is also this instinct to thwart things that might be truly progressive and beneficial to society. Maybe this instinct comes out of caution, but it is what it is. It has the effect of thwarting. Thwarting ain’t a great full time thing. Bad for yourself, bad for others.
So myself, as a conservative I’m a caricature to a point, but I know that there are some laudable goals and well intentions behind Obamacare. Ya know, besides the death panels and the $5000 / household tax increase that the hardcore misanthropes in the Democrat party, the ones who think Americans live too well, wanted and got. In Obamacare there’s an expansion of coverage to vulnerable people and people in need. Which is a good thing.
Obamacare does that, it provides coverage for some more people. And who am I to complain? I won life’s lottery, I’m healthy and productive. I owe a tax to the downtrodden for that, and I’ll kick in.
Well, my remaining complaint I think is the constant lying. The exchanges and the subsidies. If you like your plan you can keep it. Revenue neutrality (gimme a break). $2500 in savings per family.
I’m prepared to grant PPACA does good things. Someday, I’d like to meet the liberal that acknowledges they lied their asses off to get it passed. But even if that doesn’t happen, let’s say my premise is valid, that they lied their asses off.
Do I have a beef then, that this good thing was passed by a bunch of people who lied constantly about its details?
In the long run, I’m not sure I ought to have a beef. But I’m not comfortable with ends over means, which is what this ends up being about.