Pulbic shame would be a wonderful thing for our political and policy processes. At a minimum, enforced shaming thorugh the burning of incredible sources would be an improvement.
Two case studies.
The story of Obamacare over the last year has in many ways been a story about how the various claims made by conservatives about why the law would collapse have systematically fallen apart as the Affordable Care Act has gone into effect….
Back in March, the Hill published a representative story under the headline, “O-Care Premiums to Skyrocket.” Here’s the gist:
Health industry officials say Obamacare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration…
Here’s the Hill’s story from this afternoon on what is actually happening to insurance premiums:
Obamacare Premiums Slated to Rise by an Average of 7.5 Percent
Premiums on Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges will rise by an average of 7.5 percent next year, according to a new analysis.
7.5% is not even remotely close to a doubling. The big thing is a combination of competition and the late March/early April enrollment rush was mostly made up of healthier people than the cohort of people who needed and bought coverage for January 1st. That should not be shocking as we are a nation of procrastinators unless there is a damn good reason to do something now. Sources should be burned, or at least brought on record to explain how they got things so wrong.
And now onto Case #2
Abbe Gluck at Politico notes another hole and potential legally sanctionable set of statements from the Halbig team:
It is no secret that the people bringing the challenge to the Obamacare subsidies in the Halbig and King cases—challenges now seeking review from both the full D.C. federal appellate bench and the U.S. Supreme Court after federal appellate courts in Virginia and D.C. came out in opposite ways last month—are some of the same people who brought the 2012 constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act before the high court (the same counsel, and one of the same plaintiffs).
What’s less known, however, is that in the 2012 constitutional case, these same challengers filed briefs describing Obamacare to the court in precisely the way they now say the statute cannot possibly be read. Namely, they assumed that the subsidies were available on the federal exchanges and went so far as to argue that the entire statute could not function as written without the subsidies….
From their reply brief…
Indeed, the “critical feature” of those exchanges was the “greater standardization of health insurance policies” created by the effective end to individual underwriting. Id. Without that standardization, Congress’ goals in creating the exchanges “would be significantly frustrated.” Id. 46. Moreover, the federal subsidies are the incentive to participate in the exchanges, and without those subsidies, there will be no mechanism to sustain the exchanges. (p. 20, emphasis added)
I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the internet, but the courts really don’t like it when a petitioner says X in courtroom/case #1 and not X in courtroom/case #2 when X references the same thing. The Supreme Court dissenters embraced the non-Halbig ambiguoity repeatedly:
By contrast, because Congress thought that some States might decline federal funding for the operation of a “health benefit exchange,” Congress provided a backup scheme; if a State declines to participate in the operation of an exchange, the Federal Government will step in and operate an exchange in that State. See 42 U. S. C. §18041(c)(1).
The four dissenters on the Supreme Court thought that the intrepretation put forward by the IRS — namely tax credits for premium assistance would go to any purchase on any Exchange — was an accurate description of the law in 2012 when they were trying to gut it.
I am just reminded of Daniel Davies 1 minute MBA when I am looking at the Halbig ‘arguments’ — Good arguments and good policies don’t need lies told about them to sell.
So far Halbig has advocates lying through their teeth in creating false history and engaging in estoppal arguments. I think everyone attached to Halbig are in the running for assholes of the year.