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Obamacare Lawlessness Takes Potentially Fatal Hit

map of where ocare subsidies may be cut

With the Obama-created disasters on the southern border, in the Middle East and Ukraine taking up the front page of their newspaper and all the air time on the TV news many Americans may not realize that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit may have just struck a blow for liberty and the rule of law by punching a fatal hole in Obamacare.
 
Halbig v. Burwell didn’t get the kind of news coverage that the Hobby Lobby case received – but then again it didn’t seem like the world was falling apart back in June when the Supreme Court released its decision in that landmark case.
 
John Merline, writing for Investor’s Business Daily called it “The Little Case That Could Destroy ObamaCare,” and so it could by reining-in President Obama’s lawlessness.
 
Cato Institute scholar Michael Cannon and Case Western Reserve University law professor Jonathan Adler uncovered the issue raised by Halbig in 2011 when the Internal Revenue Service proposed offering subsidies through health insurance Exchanges established by the federal government, even though the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) clearly and repeatedly provides those subsidies are available only “through an Exchange established by the State.”
 
Cannon says that due to the PPACA’s interrelated provisions, “the decision to offer unauthorized subsidies in federal Exchanges also triggers unauthorized taxes against millions of individuals and employers in the 36 states that ultimately opted not to establish Exchanges. When the IRS finalized this proposal in May 2012, it cited no authority for its decision to depart from the clear language of federal law.” (Emphasis ours)
 
This is key because what Obama was trying to do by offering subsidies through health insurance Exchanges established by the federal government was to usurp the role of Congress in levying taxes and appropriating money – and that goes way beyond waving an implementation date or some of the other games Obama has played to try to make ObamaCare more palatable to a reluctant public.
 
Writing for the Cato Institute yesterday, Michael Cannon summarized the effect of the decision this way:

“The D.C. Circuit applied the law that Congress enacted. Any downstream effects of Halbig are the result of the PPACA itself, not today’s ruling. If those effects are intolerable, then it is up to Congress to change the law, not the IRS. If Halbig results in people losing health-insurance subsidies, the blame lies with a president who recklessly offered millions of Americans tens of billions of dollars in subsidies he had no authority to offer, that could vanish with a single court ruling.”
 
The Halbig decision puts the problem of Obama’s overreach and the defects in ObamaCare back in the hands of Congress – where it, according to the Constitution, rightly belongs.
 
And where Senator Ted Cruz was quick to step up and state what needs to be done.
 
"The D.C. Circuit's decision today in Halbig v. Burwell is a repudiation of Obamacare and all the lawlessness that has come with it," said Sen. Cruz. "The Obama Administration, through the Internal Revenue Service, has attempted to dispense revenues to the states without proper congressional authorization, robbing Congress of its constitutionally-provided power of the purse. This decision restores power to Congress and to the people and if properly enforced, should shield citizens from Obamacare's insidious penalties, mandates, and subsidies. This is a significant victory for the American people and the rule of law, but we must not rest. Americans will continue to lose jobs, pay higher premiums, and receive fewer healthcare choices because of this disastrous law. Every last word of Obamacare must be repealed to restore jobs, growth, and opportunity in our country."

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