Attorney General Bill Schuette was on the winning side of the Halbig case. (Dale G. Young / The Detroit News)
A federal appeals court recently struck down a major part of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The court ruling, Halbig v. Burwell, tossed out an IRS regulation that provided insurance subsidies to compensate for some of the increased costs associated with President Barack Obama’s health care plan. A recent opinion piece by Democratic attorney general candidate Mark Totten (“Michigan and the Halbig case,” July 24) attacked both the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling and Attorney General Bill Schuette’s successful support of that opinion.
It is rare that an attorney general is criticized for being on the winning side of a case. But then, almost everything about Obamacare has been odd from the very start.
Remember President Barack Obama’s oft-repeated line: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it”?
That turned out to be not true, the first of many surprises with the Affordable Care Act. A botched rollout of the program followed, complete with computer glitches and long delays. Since then, thousands have lost their insurance while others have seen premiums skyrocket.
Now comes another hiccup in Obamacare because of the court defeat. Actually, the legal issue is incredible simple. The law clearly states that subsidies can only go to exchanges set up by a “State.” So when the question was raised whether subsidies can also go to exchanges set up by the “federal government,” the answer had to be no. Even a non-lawyer can sort that out.
Let’s also be clear about a couple of other points. Schuette did not write the law creating Obamacare, nor did he authorize billions of dollars in illegal subsidies. A Democratic Congress did the first; President Obama did the second. And all of us are paying for it.
Regrettably, it has become standard operating procedure that when another aspect of Obamacare runs into difficulties, Democrats find a Republican to blame rather than take responsibility for their own flawed legislation.
Totten’s editorial is no exception and indicates he is much more interested in scoring political points than actually reading the law or even the court opinion he is criticizing. Then again, he is not alone. Democratic members of Congress have admitted they did not read the Obamacare law either before they voted for it, which may explain a lot about why Obamacare has gone so wrong from the beginning.
John Bursch is a former Michigan solicitor general who has argued eight times in the U.S. Supreme Court.