When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was about to become law, Nancy Pelosi famously scoffed at its critics, many of whom had said the proposed legislation was an incomprehensible dog’s breakfast of a bill, far too complicated for anyone in Congress to understand. “[W]e have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” she said.
Hours ago, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit determined what isn’t in it: permission for the IRS to provide tax subsidies for insurance purchased on Federal healthcare exchanges.
The reasoning behind this decision was simple enough: the law explicitly enumerates the criteria under which such subsidies may be granted, and health plans purchased on Federal exchanges do not qualify. You can see this for yourself here.
With this ruling, the Court defended a quaint idea, a charming relic of a bygone era: that a law means what it says it means. The Obama administration, however, is having none of it: according to the New York Times, “the White House rejected the court’s ruling”. The administration has, apparently, no intention of complying until higher courts have had their say.
Well! I’d have thought that whether they must obey the ruling while on appeal was for the courts to decide, not the defendant, but I guess I’m just a charming relic of a bygone era myself. These guys just do whatever they want. After all, who’s going to stop them?