Drafting error: in contemplation of Obamacare Douchespeak

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.


One thought on “Drafting error: in contemplation of Obamacare Douchespeak

  1. pm1956


    maybe not.

    Personally, I kind of hope the conservative reading is right–and that all the people who live in states that do not have their own health care exchanges get screwed. Because at some point they will figure out that they ARE being screwed–they are paying taxes that go to subsidize the health care of people in states with health care exchanges….and realize that they reason they are being screwed over like that is beacuse their elected representatives did it to the. Maybe they they will finally vote to throw the SOB’s out. Same thing with all of the foolish GOP (mostly) politicians who are not voting to expand Medicare in their states–politicians who choose to punish thier own voters to make a political point (a foolish political point) deserve to become ex-politicians.

    One of the points you made I believe is true–Obamacare will come to be seen as a very good thing, and will work. Similarly to Social Security and Medicare. I do hope that all the politicians (again, mainly GOP) who have so strongly opposed it end up paying the price.

    While you hope that people get punished for “lying”, I hope people get punished for being wrong (about their opposition to Obamacare)


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