Paul Waldman’s rant against today’s decision on Obamacare
Dr. Mark S. Latkovic
July 22, 2014
Paul Waldman doesn’t like (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/07/22/what-todays-obamacare-ruling-reveals-about-the-gop/) today’s two-to-one decision of a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to overturn the federal subsidies to persons receiving insurance through the federal exchanges. As Ramesh Ponnuru explains, “The Affordable Care Act [ACA] authorizes federal authorities to offer tax credits to defray the cost of health insurance bought on exchanges – but only if those exchanges were established by state governments. The law does not authorize the credits for the 36 states that refused to set up exchanges and are relying instead on a federal exchange.” (http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-07-22/courts-can-t-fix-obamacare)
Here’s part of Waldman’s rant: “Now pause for a moment and consider what it is Republicans are asking the courts to do here. They want millions of Americans to lose the subsidies they got this year, in many if not most cases making health insurance completely unaffordable for them, and their justification is this: We found a mistake in the law, so you people are screwed. As far as the Republicans are concerned, it’s like spotting that a batter’s toe missed second base as he was trotting around for his home run, and therefore claiming that they won the game after all.”
“But it’s not a game, it’s people’s lives. If they succeed at the Supreme Court, people will die. That’s not hyperbole. Millions of Americans will lose their health coverage — 6.5 million by one estimate — and many of them won’t be able to afford to go to the doctor, and many of them will have ailments that go untreated. People will die.”
I have two comments. First, it’s a bit hypocritical for the author to argue this way in light of the fact that liberals are usually willing to let criminals free if some technicality (“a mistake”) of the law — even if minor — was overlooked or violated. When murderers are released, “people will die,” to quote Waldman.
Second, I would point out that if the batter’s toe misses second base – even by a centimeter – and it’s caught by the ump, then the batter is out. Laws protect the integrity of the system; rules protect the integrity of the game.
Maybe this will teach the law’s authors not to be so sloppy – and the ACA/Obamacare is a sloppy law – next time when writing legislation that affects so many “people’s lives.”