Take The Money And Run

This is usually Richard Mayhew’s bailiwick, but I wanted to point out a couple of things in the latest Obamacare sign-up numbers.

Signups for ObamaCare are surging in southern states, with increases of nearly 100 percent in some states compared to last year, federal health officials said Wednesday.

Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Mississippi have each seen 80 percent more signups compared to last year, Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt said.

The same states are also reporting the fastest rate of growth in the final two weeks of the current enrollment period, which ends Feb. 15. Each of the states has reported 5 percent more signups over the last two weeks compared to last year.

The trend is particularly significant given that the Republican governors in each of the states have made little or no effort to promote signups, leaving the outreach to state and national healthcare advocacy groups. State leaders, like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, have been some of the law’s harshest critics.

Real simply, I think word is spreading. I think word of mouth is spreading really positively as neighbors tell neighbors how easy it’s been to get coverage this year,” Slavitt told reporters in a briefing Wednesday.

And these new signups on federal exchange red states with no Medicaid expansion are exactly the folks who are going to get screwed should King v Burwell go south in June.  They are the most likely to be able to get subsidies because of low income (providing they don’t fall into the gap left by refusal to expand Medicaid), and the ones least likely to be able to afford insurance without them, should Scalia and company have their way.

In other words, Jindal and Abbott and Phil Bryant and Nikki Haley are going to have a bunch of rather angry constituents on their hands.  The conventional wisdom is that red state governors are somehow going to be the ones pushing for a post-King fix should it come to that.

I doubt they will.  They’ll simply blame Obama and walk away from the mess.  It’s not like voters give a damn enough to punish these clowns.  It’s possible that there may be a critical mass demanding Congress fix subsidies, but even best case scenario on that is Boehner and McConnell going “OK, so what do you want to give us in order to fix this?” and that’s without a full Tea Party revolt at the idea of “fixing” Obamacare.

It’s just depressing to believe that we’re seriously talking about the likely possibility of the Supreme Court wrecking the lives of millions over a goddamn typo, and it’s just obscene to consider the aftermath of a situation.

74 replies
  1. 1
    gene108 says:

    Anything that gets people angry at government helps Republicans, it seems. It does not seem to matter, if Republicans are the cause of the problems that get people angry in the first place.

    Either people will decide government sucks and must be drowned in a bath tub and vote Republican or they will get discouraged and not vote.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    The conventional wisdom is that red state governors are somehow going to be the ones pushing for a post-King fix should it come to that.

    Some slightly less dead-end red state governors are supporting the administration in the Supreme Court, IIRC.

  3. 3
    Mobile RoonieRoo says:

    If you think there is any chance of the people who will be screwed by this blaming the governor or the Republicans, then you don’t know how entrenched the stupidity is in Texas and Louisiana. I guarantee you that if SCOTUS kills the subsidies, the idiots will only blame Obama – logic be damned.

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    @gene108:

    Not true in 2012. We have a real midterm election problem.

  5. 5
    gene108 says:

    @Baud:

    The reason there’s a turn out problem or one reason, at least, is folks feel discouraged. They feel their vote will not change anything and government will be corrupt no matter who is in power.

    That is part of the problem. A problem that gets exasperated by Republicans fucking up how states are run or creating so much gridlock in DC nothing gets done.

    EDIT: Maybe Dems will get lucky and you get a candidate, with coattails, like Obama in 2008, who inspired people to turn out and vote, but if things stay bad for any length of time look for folks to fall back to their default position of discouraged. Obama won in 2012, but Democrats did not retake ground lost in 2010, at the state and local levels or in Congress.

  6. 6
    JGabriel says:

    Zander:

    It’s just depressing to believe that we’re seriously talking about the likely possibility of the Supreme Court wrecking the lives of millions over a goddamn typo …

    I honestly don’t think that’s going to happen, and no, I’m not naive.

    It’s not that I think John Roberts has any due concern for the poor or lower middle class. But I do think that Roberts is one of the Republicans who, when ideology conflicts with the needs of big business and corporate America, can be counted on to side with the corporations.

    Right now, there are quite a few insurance companies making good profits on Obamacare. And as much as Roberts may feel conflicted about ruling against his ideological brethren, ultimately I think he’s going to side with the corporations making money from the ACA.

    The fact that it helps people in the lower 50% financially will be, from Roberts’ point of view, simply a regrettable but unavoidable consequence of ensuring profits for his corporate buddies.

  7. 7
    Baud says:

    @gene108:

    They are told that, from all sides. But that doesn’t seem to apply in presidential election years. If you can figure out how to transfer that to other elections, you would be a Democratic hero.

  8. 8
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @JGabriel: There is also the fact that an anti-ACA ruling would throw the legal system for a loop with plaintiffs scouring every piece of legislation for a seemly contradictory sentence and filing lawsuits based on it. Are Kennedy and Roberts both so keen on destroying the ACA that they are willing to destroy basic principles of statutory interpretation? I tend to doubt it.

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    If the Dems win the White House in 2016, there is a real chance Roberts could lose his Republican majority. I can imagine this precedent being thrown back in his face a number of times.

    Big business does not want courts to apply a hypertechnical interpretation to federal statutes. No laws are written well enough to have that became rule.

  10. 10
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @JGabriel: Huh. Ironically enough, Gordon Gekko was right; in this case, “greed is good.”

  11. 11
    MomSense says:

    @gene108:

    We did retake ground in 2012 and were it not for the flurry of gerrymandering/redistricting in 2010 we would have taken back the House. We had millions more votes for Congressional Reps in 2012 than the Republicans. Many state legislatures flipped back to Democratic control. I think even in 2014 there were 20 million more votes for Democratic Senate candidates than Republican Senate candidates–and we still lost.

  12. 12
    satby says:

    I do agree with gene108 though that discouraged citizens who see no reason to vote are the biggest hurdle. It’s a much bigger group than the spite voters, but the spite contingent can be counted on to turn out.

  13. 13
    low-tech cyclist says:

    It’s not like voters give a damn enough to punish these clowns.

    You don’t get anywhere by demanding a better class of voters.

    In fact, that’s the point at which you know you’re screwed as a movement – when you start blaming the voters for being too dumb to vote the right way.

  14. 14
    JGabriel says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    There is also the fact that an anti-ACA ruling would throw the legal system for a loop with plaintiffs scouring every piece of legislation for a seemly contradictory sentence and filing lawsuits based on it. Are Kennedy and Roberts both so keen on destroying the ACA that they are willing to destroy basic principles of statutory interpretation? I tend to doubt it.

    That’s a good point. The only problem I have with it is that it assumes Kennedy and Roberts aren’t right-wing hacks who care more about power and ideology than the law.

    Kennedy is admittedly (and unexpectedly) reasonable on gay issues, and Roberts seems to value business over ideology – but I’m not sure it’s a safe assumption in general to rely on them to care more about the law than power and ideology. After all, destroying basic principles of statutory interpretation has no meaningful consequence to you if – like many conservative jurists, c.f. Antonin Scalia – you already ignore precedent regularly, even the precedents from your own decisions.

  15. 15
    Spinwheel says:

    This is usually Richard Mayhew’s bailiwick

    Something about keeping one’s mouth shut rather than opening it and confirming suspicions.

  16. 16
    PIGL says:

    @low-tech cyclist: citizens are responsible for the votes they cast and for the votes they don’t cast. The fact that they are in a plurality both stupid and spiteful is not really a factor. I am seeing this writ large in Alberta now.

  17. 17
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    BCBS of NC has been advertising the Exchange plans like crazy, even going so far as to hammer on the subsidies.

    When BCBS tells you that you might be able to get heath insurance for $19/month, you sit up and pay attention.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar is starting to happen in other states.

  18. 18
    bemused says:

    “I think the word is spreading” said Slavitt. Who is Slavitt, I wonder, but article doesn’t enlighten me. I keep up with a lot of news but just didn’t remember who Slavitt was.

    This is a journalism pet peeve of mine. Why, oh why, do so many articles have comments and quotes and then not clearly identify who the speakers are? Sure I can look it up but why should readers have to do that. Just tell me who Joe Schmo is and what connection he has to the story.

    Maybe it’s just me and this doesn’t irritate anyone else.

  19. 19
    Belafon says:

    @Spinwheel: And yet you commented anyway.

  20. 20
    Belafon says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: It’s happening here in Texas.

  21. 21
    JPL says:

    I don’t see the current court deciding that ACA federal exchanges are legal under the law, and the right of gays to marry.

  22. 22
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @PIGL:

    @low-tech cyclist: citizens are responsible for the votes they cast and for the votes they don’t cast. The fact that they are in a plurality both stupid and spiteful is not really a factor. I am seeing this writ large in Alberta now.

    And to the extent that people in a movement, or on a particular side of the political spectrum, feel this way about the voters, the voters will pick up on that contempt, and you’ve lost ’em for good.

    If your attitude becomes “the voters are too dumb, so fuck ’em,” then my attitude is: fuck you.

    I see Charles Pierce talking like this more and more lately, and he’s (deservedly, apart from this) earned himself quite a following, so I can see the attitude spreading. But I think it’s time to snuff this notion out before it gets anywhere.

    “We know what’s good for you, and you don’t because you’re too dumb to know better” is liberalism’s way of making itself irrelevant – and despised by the very people it started off trying to help. A good chunk of the left went down this route ~45 years ago. It was a disaster then, and it would be just as stupid now.

  23. 23
    ruemara says:

    Fuck ’em. They’re not “discouraged”. They’re outright evil. If they’re beloved good, white republicans take away the health insurance that’s improving their lives, they’ll blame that nigger in the White People’s House. Even when the evidence says it’s thanks to him they even have the chance at insurance and healthcare in the first place. Why do you have morons signing up for things like Kynect because it must be better than that Obamacare? So fuck ’em. They lose a good benefit? Too bad, you voted to lose it. You think it’s gays, blacks and Dems? Sucks to be you, it’s your own damned Republicans. I have no more sympathy for the willful, glaring idiocy of red states. Sorry if you die off, but not by much. My only sadness is they’re dragging the rest of us down with them. These bits of common clay can perch and rotate as they continually get screwed by their conservative leaders.

  24. 24
    john b says:

    @ruemara: Man, you’ve got some real anger issues. Try to remember that in many of these states, the republican majority is very slim (and sometimes tenuous). See NC for instance. This is the first time that Republicans have controlled the state house in decades. People are often misinformed, tired, distracted. People are rarely intentionally evil and even less rarely do they intentionally hurt themselves.

    Also, what low-tech cyclist said just above you.

  25. 25
    Tripod says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    I agree, OTOH online progressive influence on Democratic politics is but a fart in a hurricane.

  26. 26
    ruemara says:

    @john b: I agree to completely disagree and you’re goddamned right I’m angry, as anyone with half a brain should be at the fools populating the nation that will not believe the truth no matter how often it’s right in their face. The fact that you think it means I have issues, well that’s your issue, not mine.

  27. 27
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    Talking about logical consequences re the ACA is pointless. The national Id passed that point a long time ago.

  28. 28
    tam1MI says:

    @low-tech cyclist: Zandar is emblematic of that class of liberals that consistently mistakes pessimism for intelligence.

  29. 29
    Tripod says:

    Does the majority on this court gives a crap about the billions poured into health care reform by providers and insurance carriers?

    No.

    They’re not pro-business. They’re the judicial descendants of the evil assholes who thought nothing of the cost burden placed on public and private entities by separate but equal.

    The political answer is to start saying single payer over and over. Obama tried the Republican way, they blew it up, now they get to enjoy a socialist fisting.

  30. 30
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Belafon: Says something about the grade of troll available to us, no?

  31. 31
    richard mayhew says:

    @Tripod: Okay, get to 218 in the House and 51 in the Senate sometime in the next ten years for single payer… or at least come up with a plausible plan to do so that does not rely on magic unicorns changing electoral structures away from first past the post single member districts to party list voting….

  32. 32

    @richard mayhew:
    Not to mention it will be much easier for the SCOTUS to strike down single payer, and Roberts and Kennedy will be solid ‘this is unconstitutional’ votes rather than maybes.

  33. 33
    lol says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Why would they be worried? They’ll go back to the usual interpretation after this lawsuit. Like Bush v Gore, it’s not intended to set precedent, it’s meant to win.

  34. 34
    Spinwheel says:

    @tam1MI:

    To be fair, Zandar mistakes a lot of things for intelligence when he’s clearly the front page poster least equipped to recognize it.

    Doug J at least admits he’s a troll, Cole defaults to complaining about Pittsburgh sports and dog pictures, Elon White posts his podcasts and the rest stick to their evidenced areas of expertise. Zandar OTOH is barely indistinguishable from the “Heh Indeed” school of blogging and his area of expertise appears to be precisely nothing.

    Can we bring Elias Isquith or Freddie deBoer back please?

    I miss Elias Isquith.

  35. 35
    hoodie says:

    Do we know who voted to grant cert on this case? The case looks like a trainwreck, what with questionable plaintiffs and no discernible harm, a theory of the case devised by George Costanza and opposing parties from across the political spectrum. I wonder if someone looked at this hot mess and decided this could be a good way to put Roberts and Kennedy on the hot seat and deliver a very public coup de grace to the last holdouts on Obamacare. If your a punk-minded jurist (notorious RBG?) with nothing much to lose, you might survey the battlefield, see that Scalia, Thomas and Alito will automatically plate this turkey, and then all you need is a couple of more votes to serve it up. It’s possible that Roberts felt he sufficiently appeased the teahadis by gutting the Medicaid expansion, and that if the red states were stupid enough to refuse the expansion, give up their portion of federal gravy and put their hospitals out of business, it’s all on them. But this really puts him on the spot because it’s a blindingly stupid case and ruling in favor of the plaintiffs will create a precedential mess and make him a historical joke, while ruling against them makes him a traitor that definitively put the stake through the heart of legal challenges to Obamacare. I’m sure he’s feverishly working on weaseling out of it, probably on procedural grounds (funny how the problems with the plaintiffs are all coming out now).

  36. 36
    raven says:

    @Spinwheel: You are reaching new levels of schmuckitude today.

  37. 37
    Ruckus says:

    @ruemara:
    This
    I agree that calling someone stupid is counter productive but at some point the evidence is overwhelming that they are, well just fucking stupid. What can you say when they continue to buy into the conservative mime, even as that mime gets more and more batshit insane and more and more bought and paid for by a few super rich assholes? That they are geniuses? That this will work out well for them?

  38. 38
    JMV Pyro says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    You raise a good point. I think one of the successes of the modern conservative movement is that it’s gotten everyone, progressives included, to internalize the idea that people are selfish, mean individuals and they could never come together and do anything right, so fuck any notion of a collective good.

    Problem is, the left needs to believe in the notion of society and that people can build that society, overcoming whatever personal demons they have in the process. The conservatives just need to divide and conquer, playing on their base’s worst fears while discouraging others from participating. If both groups hold a cynical view of humanity, the conservatives will win most of the time.

  39. 39
    Gene108 says:

    @Tripod:

    ACA is not the Republican way. Medicare Part D, with its give away to big pharma, limited cost protections (donut hole) for consumers, and inability to even attempt to cover everyone who needs coverage is Republican health care policy at its best.

    The current crop of Republicans will not even do that much.

    Any attempt to achieve universal healthcare coverage for all Americans has been solely a Democratic issue for decades. The ACA moves closer to universal coverage than anything else in the last 50 years.

  40. 40
    Kylroy says:

    @john b: If these R majorities are so tenuous, I will be happy to see them fade in 2016. But I live in Wisconsin, a state that has not voted R in a presidential election since 1984, yet we currently have a governor and state senate that are doing their best to turn us into Alabama North. It’s really hard to relate to people who are willing to tear down education, healthcare, and every other aspect of the public good for fear that people who don’t look like them might benefit.

  41. 41
    MomSense says:

    @ruemara:

    I still haven’t recovered from the phonebanking I did before the midterms. The things I heard people say — I can’t even. I’m so angry about the political situation that I really can’t even discuss it much anymore for my own health and well being. My kids are all politically active and they are at the same place where they feel like the system is so corrupt and broken that their generation will have to create healthy businesses and organizations to deal with the issues that our politics can’t address. I can’t say I disagree with them at all.

  42. 42
    Ruckus says:

    @Kylroy:
    It’s really hard to relate to people who are willing to tear down education, healthcare, and every other aspect of the public good for fear that people who don’t look like them might benefit.

    RFT.

  43. 43
    ruemara says:

    @Ruckus: That this has ever worked out well for them? At what point do we stop pretending that this hasn’t been the politics of punishing THOSE PEOPLE for daring to ask for the same rights and opportunities as the majority? I heartily believe that if the GOP didn’t have so many sibs, kids and closet cases, didn’t see an opportunity to peel off some gay votes and cash, they wouldn’t be ok with not fighting gay marriage. I’m just done with the enablers. I worked too hard supporting policies that benefit all and pushing back the obvious stupid to feel one more drop of empathy for them anymore. When there’s a sense of guilty shame for it, I’ll be happy to be supportive.

  44. 44
    Spinwheel says:

    @raven: Ahh, but the truth is often ill-received.

  45. 45
    Belafon says:

    @Spinwheel: Or, you could go to the blogs they’re at.

  46. 46
    Kylroy says:

    @Spinwheel: So is belligerent bullshit. Interpreting a hostile reception as a sign of righteousness is a hallmark of MRAs, slut-shaming pro-lifers, and, apparently, Spinwheel.

  47. 47

    @low-tech cyclist:

    In fact, that’s the point at which you know you’re screwed as a movement – when you start blaming the voters for being too dumb to vote the right way.

    QFT. Man do I hate it when people start going “voters are stupid, bleh bleh bleh”

  48. 48
    Chris says:

    @Spinwheel:

    I asked this before, but whatever happened to Zaid Jilani? Was kind of looking forward to his contributions, but he lasted, like, a month.

  49. 49
    Buddy H says:

    @MomSense: I still haven’t recovered from the phonebanking I did before the midterms. The things I heard people say — I can’t even. I’m so angry about the political situation that I really can’t even discuss it much anymore for my own health and well being.

    I read my local news outlets online and the comments sections are filled with fox news and RW radio talking points. Last year, we had a gas leak. The state utility truck pulls up and I can hear Rush Limbaugh on the utility guy’s radio. I go for car repair and fox news is on in the waiting room.

    Several years ago I had a plumber fixing a burst pipe. While he worked, he launched into attacks on Al Gore and Barbra Streisand and their global warming nonsense. (By the way, he did a shit job)

  50. 50
    grandpa john says:

    @Spinwheel: Hey, I know the solution to all these problems you find here.

    start your own fucking blog

  51. 51
    Chris says:

    @JGabriel:

    I don’t know if this applies here, but I think it’s also a mistake to neatly separate business and ideology. Plenty of politicians and businessmen don’t make the distinction, sniff their own crack, and promote boneheaded idiotic ideas not as red meat for the masses, but because they, too, are dumb enough to believe it’s good for business.

    So in this case, for example, it can’t just be “Roberts values business over ideology.” It also has to be “Roberts and his corporate friends are smart enough to know the ACA is good for business.”

  52. 52
    lol says:

    @Gene108:

    The mandate is about the only “Republican” thing about the ACA. Heritage’s plan didn’t have the cost controls, subsidies, Medicaid expansion, etc

  53. 53
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    ruling in favor of the plaintiffs will create a precedential mess

    Why do people keep assuming that precedence matters at all to this court? Scalia himself reversed his own “precedent” in the way he argued in favor of Hobs Lobs. Pretty sure he’s ignored or dismissed precedent in Cits Uni and even the first O-care case.

    It seems they dont give a shit about prior case rulings mattering at all; every case is new and fresh, and Fat Tony & Ilk will adjust their reasoning to fit their ideology in any way necessary. K-RATS dont care what they said yesterday if it means fucking libs today…the law they follow is Pure Cleek’s.

    I joke that I’m pretty sure Fat Tony, Uncle Tom, and Sammy the Toad have already written the dissent in the gay marriage case and probably their opinion(s) in this King case. Who needs oral arguments when one already knows how the GOP stands on the issue?

  54. 54

    @low-tech cyclist:

    You don’t get anywhere by demanding a better class of voters.

    Republican success with voter suppression says otherwise. Deliberately throwing obstacles in the way of groups of voters likely to vote Democratic has done them a lot of good. I believe very strongly that removing those obstacles as much as practically possible would help the Democrats more than anything. If/when the Democrats get control of the Presidency and both Houses of Congress, they should put a new, stronger VRA at the top of their legislative priorities.

  55. 55
    feebog says:

    @hoodie:

    The case looks like a trainwreck, what with questionable plaintiffs and no discernible harm, a theory of the case devised by George Costanza and opposing parties from across the political spectrum.

    I’m borrowing the George Costanza part, internets gold. If you actually pay attention to politics, which is less than 5% of our citizens, SCOTUS even taking up this case is inexplicable. And if you read the briefs, it goes from inexplicable to astonishing. The analysis is pretty simple; the act was designed to maximize the number of americans with access to health care. Which position accomplishes that? A second grader could figure it out.

  56. 56
    The Ancient Randonneur says:

    What does the commentariat have to do in order to get better trolls? The pikers we get these days are just down right embarrassing, Or, maybe the good ol’ days weren’t nearly as good as I remember? Brian what do you think? Brian? Oh yeah, you’re on leave. I hear Larry the Cable Guy is looking for an opening act for his next tour.

  57. 57
    Tripod says:

    This lunatic Supreme Court is going to finish gutting the ACA. That’s been the primary motivating force for the GOP since it passed.

    It might be a good idea to get out ahead on the talking points and framing for the shit show fail parade this court will make of the ACA.

    Any backward looking blather about about congressional vote counts is meaningless. Nothing but rollback will happen until one of these racist fuckers on the court has a chest clencher, and Democrats are back in congressional control. That’s gonna be a while.

    I’m saying single payer because offering up warmed over ObamaCare isn’t going to be politically viable.

  58. 58

    @Roger Moore:

    This is where I’m at, too. It’s not that we need to magically create better voters, it’s that we need to make sure that everyone who is legally permitted to vote can ACTUALLY vote. Voter ID bullshit is killing Democrats at the ballot box, by design.

  59. 59
    MomSense says:

    @Buddy H:

    Our governor is rolling out his new tax revenue plan which must have been dreamed up by the Koch brothers and messaged by Frank Luntz. The plan is to cut state income taxes (for the wealthy obviously), decrease state funding to the municipalities, and increase and add new state sales taxes and fees. The reason for this he says is to return the power back to the people at the local level. Isn’t that a nice way of saying that lower and middle income people will be screwed over by higher property taxes, sales taxes, and fees?

    He got big applause for this BS. What with FOX and forty years of think tank driven conservative re-education, people are wired to agree with things that will cause them harm. The Obama campaign proved how it is possible to counter it but we clearly don’t have the energy or the will to sustain that level of messaging and voter outreach in midterm election years.

  60. 60
    Belafon says:

    @Tripod:

    I’m saying single payer because offering up warmed over ObamaCare isn’t going to be politically viable.

    And single payer will be less for a long time. The voters we actually have to deal with fall into the following categories:

    1) Those that don’t reliably vote, who most often vote Democrat.
    2) Those that vote based on “I voted for X, and I’m not happy, so I’ll vote against X” even if it’s not X’s fault.
    3) Those that vote based on “X is a _” even if what the representative will actually vote on would hurt them.
    4) Those that vote on the issues, which is a small group.

    And 3 tends to fall for “Single Payer is a socialist system, and we’re not socialists here in America.”

  61. 61
    Chris says:

    @JMV Pyro:

    I think one of the successes of the modern conservative movement is that it’s gotten everyone, progressives included, to internalize the idea that people are selfish, mean individuals

    Well, I can’t say it hasn’t worked, largely for the same reasons as MomSense and Kylroy. I don’t believe the current state of the U.S. is a universal rule either for us or for the human race, I definitely don’t believe that people can’t do better collectively (the 20th century would seem to refute that)…

    But in a nutshell, no, I don’t trust my fellow citizens. And I really don’t see how I could. I’ve seen far too many of them gleefully wish for me to die in the gutter for lack of health insurance, or to be beaten senseless by cops for expressing an opinion they didn’t like at OWS or anti-war rallies, or… pick your meme… and spend decades on end voting specifically for that, no matter how much it hurts them, because fucking over other people is just that important to them.

  62. 62
    Jeremy says:

    @JGabriel: That’s a great point. The health care industry is siding with the administration and even the US Chamber of Commerce is not going along with the King suit.

  63. 63
    Matt McIrvin says:

    These politicians may even be hoping for large numbers of ACA signups, so that as many people as possible will be hurt by King v. Burwell and the anger can be redirected at Obama.

    It’s the old heads-I-win, tails-you-lose that applies when your brand is anti-government: do your best to sabotage government services and then use that as an example of why you shouldn’t rely on government.

  64. 64
    Gravenstone says:

    @Spinwheel: Poor, poor Shitheel. How it must burn you to know that Zandar was invited as a front page voice. While all you can do is rail in sad impotence from the sidelines.

    And FdB? Really, that thin skinned dolt is your ideal for a front pager? Speak not well at all of your own judgement.

  65. 65
    Buddy H says:

    Sometimes for fun I’ll read the wikipedia page of a conservative politician. They always read like press releases, because they’ve been scrubbed and sanitized so thoroughly. In Scott Walker’s page, I learn that as a child he attained the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest you can get. Impressive!

    Then, for more fun, I’ll read the talk section, where wikipedia people fight behind the scenes about what goes up and what comes down. It was very important that the word “allegedly” go before every one of Scott’s misdeeds:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....olitician)

  66. 66
    Steeplejack says:

    Linda Greenhouse had an excellent piece in the Times last week about King v. Burwell that is simultaneously chilling and slightly optimistic. Chilling because she makes clear what a flimsy nothingburger the case is, optimistic because she makes equally clear how blatant—idiotically blatant—a political move it would be for SCOTUS to nuke the federal exchanges, which the justices surely must know (or so you would think).

    I haven’t seen anyone front-page this here; sorry if I missed it. (And I hope this isn’t too long.)

    The precise statutory issue is the validity of the Internal Revenue Service rule that makes the tax subsidies available to those who qualify by virtue of their income, regardless of whether the federal government or a state set up the exchange on which the insurance was bought. The challengers’ argument that the rule is invalid depends on the significance of two sub-clauses of the act that refer to “an exchange established by a state,” seemingly to the exclusion of the federally established exchanges.

    But other parts of the complex and interlocking description of how the subsidies work suggest no such limitation. They point strongly in the opposite direction. For example, if a state chooses the option not to set up its own exchange, an option 34 states have exercised, the law requires the United States Department of Health and Human Services to “establish and operate such exchange within the state.” [. . .] The government argues that in this exercise of “cooperative federalism,” the federal government simply acts as the state’s surrogate; functionally, the federal exchange “is an exchange established by the state.” The law’s other relevant sections support that interpretation. For example, one section provides that any “applicable taxpayer,” defined by income, will be eligible for the subsidy, making no reference to where the taxpayer purchased the insurance.

    [. . .]

    Every justice subscribes to the notion that statutory language has to be understood in context. Justice Scalia said it from the bench just last month, during an argument about the proper interpretation of the federal Fair Housing Act. “When we look at a provision of law, we look at the entire provision of law, including later amendments,” Justice Scalia said. “We try to make sense of the law as a whole.” [. . .]

    Across the ideological spectrum, the court’s opinions are filled with comments like Justice Scalia’s. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a 1997 opinion that in a statutory case, courts have to look at “the language itself, the specific context in which that language is used, and the broader context of the statute as a whole.”

    Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., arguing for contextual interpretation in a 2009 opinion, observed that “the sun may be a star, but ‘starry sky’ does not refer to a bright summer day.”

    Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in a 2006 opinion that an interpretation of a single statutory provision “is persuasive only to the extent one scrutinizes the provision without the illumination of the rest of the statute.”

    These examples all come from a brief filed on the government’s behalf by a group of law professors who are specialists in statutory interpretation, administrative law or constitutional law.

    [. . .]

    The challengers have submitted a bunch of me-too arguments from the usual ideological suspects that offer various versions of the narrative concocted to validate the acontextual reading of the law that eliminates subsidies on the federal exchanges. That narrative depicts a highly implausible scenario in which the states—which under the Constitution couldn’t actually be compelled to set up their own exchanges—were given a powerful incentive: set up your exchange or, if you exercise your choice to default to the feds, your citizens will lose their right to the tax subsidies that will enable them to afford insurance.

    [. . .]

    A fascinating brief filed in support of the government by an unusual coalition of 23 red-state and blue-state attorneys general (some from states with their own exchanges and others from federal-exchange states) maintains that the challengers’ narrative would “violate basic principles of cooperative federalism by surprising the states with a dramatic hidden consequence of their exchange election.”

    This brief, written in the Virginia attorney general’s office, continues: “Every state engaged in extensive deliberations to select the exchange best suited to its needs. None had reason to believe that choosing a federally facilitated exchange would alter so fundamental a feature of the ACA as the availability of tax credits. Nothing in the ACA provided clear notice of that risk, and retroactively imposing such a new condition now would upend the bargain the states thought they had struck.”

    [. . .]

    To accept the challengers’ narrative, the government’s brief asserts, “the court would have to accept that Congress adopted that scheme not in a provision giving states clear notice of the consequences of their choice, but instead by hiding it in isolated phrases.” The court should interpret the statute “to avoid the disrespect for state sovereignty” inherent in that unlikely account.

    [. . .]

    I have no doubt that the justices who cast the necessary votes to add King v. Burwell to the court’s docket were happy to help themselves to a second chance to do what they couldn’t quite pull off three years ago. To those justices, I offer the same advice I give my despairing friends: Read the briefs. If you do, and you proceed to destroy the Affordable Care Act nonetheless, you will have a great deal of explaining to do—not to me, but to history.

  67. 67
    JGabriel says:

    @Chris:

    I don’t know if this applies here, but I think it’s also a mistake to neatly separate business and ideology.

    In general, I agree. Republican support of business is usually ideology-based; this case is the rare exception where their support for business is outweighed by their ideological anti-health care zeal.

  68. 68
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I’ve been trying to think of the strongest argument the plaintiffs’ side has, and it’s probably that Congress needs to be forced to fix the law to make the applicability of subsidies to the federal exchange clear. And that if we all know they won’t do that and will instead let the ACA die, well, that’s because a Congress opposed to the ACA was duly elected, and elections have consequences. Tough luck, everybody.

    The question is, if that happens, can Democrats run with elections-having-consequences and turn this into an election issue for 2016? The structural barriers to Democrats retaking the House seem immense, but it might be possible to put sufficient muscle behind a simple fix to the ACA language that it eventually happens.

  69. 69

    […] Commenter Tripod thinks it is a viable option, and is extremely wrong: […]

  70. 70
    Matt McIrvin says:

    …But the actual argument they seem to be going with, that the lack of subsidies was somehow the intent of the law in order to provide an incentive for states to set up exchanges, is just bizarre, given that nobody understood that as the implication of the law at the time. It’s like the doomsday machine in Dr. Strangelove, whose whole reason for being is defeated by keeping it a secret, because the Premier loves surprises.

  71. 71
    Steeplejack says:

    @bemused:

    In the quoted bit at the top:

    Signups for ObamaCare are surging in southern states, with increases of nearly 100 percent in some states compared to last year, federal health officials said Wednesday.

    Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Mississippi have each seen 80 percent more signups compared to last year, Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt said.

    A quick dive into the Google shows that Slavitt’s official title is “principal deputy administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).”

    The article should have been more precise about exactly who Slavitt is, but it did seem pretty clear that he is a federal official.

    And, yes, it does bug me when someone quotes an article snippet with a surname-only reference to a person without (parenthetically) providing further identification.

  72. 72
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “Signups for ObamaCare are surging in southern states”

    So perhaps they’ll put pressure on the Republicans to fix the ACA if it’s gutted by the Supreme Court.

  73. 73
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Or maybe the whole mess will be blamed on the ACA itself, increasing political pressure to repeal.

  74. 74
    Ruckus says:

    @feebog:
    A second grader could figure it out.

    So you are saying that conservatives are stupid or bigoted, right?

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