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When the Halbig v. Burwell ruling came out last week, lefties like the New Republic reached out to Jonathan Gruber after their initial spin failed. Their initial spin consisted of this being a drafting error which should be excused by the courts.

When conservative bloggers found a video of Jonathan Gruber saying that health insurance subsidies were only available to people buying health insurance through state-established exchanges, TNR called Gruber. Dr. Gruber immediately backtracked by saying what he said was “a speak-o”. Michael Cannon’s op-ed blows that spin out of the water:

The administration’s defenders responded to the Halbig case by insisting that Congress never intended to withhold subsidies from residents of states that did not establish exchanges. Like the Obama administration, Gruber told the D.C. Circuit that this idea is “implausible.” The D.C. Circuit disagreed when it ruled for the plaintiffs last Tuesday.

Gruber then became part of the story on Thursday when a video surfaced in which he espouses the very interpretation of the law he now publicly derides as “screwy,” “nutty” and “stupid.” In 2012, Gruber told an audience: “If you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.”

Frankly, this appears to be proof that Dr. Gruber is willing to say anything to save his greatest legislative achievement. There’s no question what the legislative language says, which is the only thing the courts can go by.

As damning as that is, this is the part of Cannon’s op-ed that sinks Dr. Gruber:

The problem with his explanations is that Jonathan Gruber doesn’t “flake.” He knows this law in and out. He knew what his words meant, with all their implications, when he spoke them. He knew the feature he was describing essentially gave each state a veto over the PPACA’s exchange subsidies, employer mandate and to a large extent its individual mandate. He knew that could lead to adverse selection. To claim Gruber didn’t know what he was saying is as absurd as saying a conductor might fail to notice that the brass section suddenly stopped playing.

It’s rich that the guy who boasts that he knows “more about this law than any other economist” suddenly left to dissembling when he’s caught spinning.

Richard Epstein’s explanation of the ruling is compelling and succinct:

Do the words an “exchange established by a State” cover an exchange that is established by the federal government “on behalf of a state”? To the unpracticed eye, the two propositions are not synonyms, but opposites. When I do something on behalf of myself, it is quite a different thing from someone else doing it on my behalf. The first case involves self-control. The second involves a change of actors. It is not, moreover, that the federal government establishes the exchange on behalf of a state that has authorized the action, under which case normal principles of agency law would apply. Quite the opposite: the federal government decides to act because the state has refused to put the program into place. It is hard to see, as a textual matter, why the two situations should be regarded as identical when the political forces at work in them are so different. Under the so-called “plain meaning approach”, there is no need to look further. The text does not authorize the subsidies for these transactions, so it is up to Congress to fix the mess that it created in 2010.

The only context needed is the text itself. It’s clear that language agreed upon means that the only people who are eligible for subsidies are people who bought them through state-established exchanges. There’s no question that the federal government used this carrot-and-stick approach to coax states into creating exchanges. There’s also no question that the federal government couldn’t force states to create these exchange.

That’s considered commandeering by the federal government, which isn’t allowed in our federalist system of governance.

This is enlightening information, too:

Last year, seven career Treasury and IRS officials told congressional investigators that they knew the PPACA did not authorize them to issue tax credits in federal exchanges, and that their regulations had originally confined tax credits to exchanges “established by the State.” At the direction of their political-appointee superiors, however, they dropped that language and announced that tax credits would be available through exchanges established by the federal government as well.

Isn’t it interesting that the rules didn’t change until after President Obama’s political appointees ordered the rule changes? That clearly shows the IRS regulation changing the clear intent of the ACA was an act of political mischief.

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When superPACs and other special interest organizations make a major ad buy in a formerly safe congressional district, it’s usually proof that the incumbent is in trouble. When that major ad buy happens months before the election, it’s a guarantee that he’s in trouble. That’s why this ad is proof, at minimum, that Rick Nolan, Nancy Pelosi and AFSCME are worried about Stewart Mills flipping this seat this November:

What’s interesting, and predictable, is that Nolan’s special interest allies are lying through their teeth about Mills supporting “tax breaks for the rich.” Let’s look at Mill’s issues page for the truth:

The Eighth District is a Main Street economy and job growth here comes from the ground up. That means we need tax reform that’s geared toward small business growth. Stewart doesn’t believe that Washington creates jobs- entrepreneurs and business owners create jobs.

When Republicans talk about tax reform, they’re talking mostly about tax simplification. That’s because tax compliance hurts small businesses far more than it hurts big corporations. Big corporations have tons of lobbyists to get favorable tax breaks and tons of accountants that stay on top of the ever-changing tax code.

Meanwhile, an entrepreneur might be the chief salesman of the product, the guy who does payroll and fills in when someone’s missing. He’s also the guy who has to stay on top of the onslaught of regulations and changes in the tax code. In short, tax compliance hurts small businesses far more than it hurts big corporations.

In other words, the AFSCME/House Majority PAC ad is BS.

Another important part of the AFSCME/House Majority PAC ad says that Stewart Mills opposes the minimum wage. I’ve paid a ton of attention to the Mills campaign. I’ve yet to hear him talk about the minimum wage. His stump speech is mostly about a) starting over and getting health care reform right, b) making PolyMet and job creation in Minnesota’s Eighth District a reality and c) standing up for the Second Amendment.

There’s nothing in there that’s about “tax cuts for the rich” or the minimum wage. Those mining jobs are anything but about the minimum wage. Those future miners certainly aren’t “the rich.” That’s who Stewart Mills will fight for if he’s elected, mostly because it’s the right thing to do.

After the DFL convention, Rick Nolan railed that Stewart Mills was the personification of the one-percent:

Nolan started off the campaign with a shot the Republican contender Stewart Mills. “He is, no mistake about it, a one percenter who is there to represent the 1 percent not the 99 percent,” Nolan said.

I said then what I’ll repeat now: Mills Fleet Farm is one of the most blue collar retail chains in the nation. They have lots of auto parts, lawn care products, sporting goods and a smattering of clothing, ranging from blue jeans to flannel shirts. What they don’t have are products that might be found in Macy’s or Nieman Marcus.

According to University of Wisconsin Superior Political Science Professor Alison Von Hagel, “I guess one could say it could be seen as putting words in his (Mills) mouth.” That’s understatement.

I’d argue that it’s filled with assumptions based mostly on ideology, not fact. In that sense, it’s what I expect from far left liberals like the DFL and Nancy Pelosi. Their relationship with the truth is minimal at best.

Stewart Mills is a salt-of-the-earth type of guy. He’s totally comfortable hanging out at the Mills family hunting shack. That isn’t to say he’s uncomfortable running the Mills Fleet Farm benefits program. He knows that pretty well, too, which is why he wants to start over on health care reform so that it’s affordable for everyone.

Right now, thanks to the ACA, it isn’t affordable for many.

That, of course, isn’t part of the AFSCME/House Majority PAC ad. That truth doesn’t fit with the Democrats’ storyline. If it doesn’t fit with the Democrats’ smear campaign, it’s ignored.

High-ranking people in DC thinks Nolan’s in trouble. That’s why he was put on the DCCC’s equivalent of the ‘Endangered Incumbents List.’ That’s why the House Majority PAC and AFSCME paid for this ad this early. If they thought Nolan wasn’t in trouble, they would’ve saved their money until the stretch run.

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It’s difficult to call Rolf Westgard’s submission to MinnPost a true LTE. Read this stuff, then ask yourself if you’ve heard it somewhere else before:

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) program is working in Minnesota and across the country. A June release of MNsure facts shows that more than 95 percent of Minnesotans are now insured. From September 2013 to May 2014, “The number of uninsured Minnesotans fell by 180,500, a reduction of 40.6 percent. To date, 236,745 Minnesotans have enrolled in quality, affordable coverage through MNsure. 136,303 enrolled in Medical Assistance, 48,942 in MinnesotaCare and 51,500 in a Qualified Health Plan.”

In April, President Obama announced that more than 7 million Americans had signed up for health insurance. The Affordable Care Act should continue to improve as more uninsured people who have been hesitant will enroll.

The statistics are accurate so that’s beyond dispute. What they don’t tell you is important, though. What they don’t tell you is that a) 93% of Minnesotans were insured before the ACA was enacted and b) 50% of those who weren’t insured were eligible for a taxpayer-subsidized health insurance policy.

Another thing that Dr. Westgard isn’t telling you is that Minnesota spent $160,000,000 to build MNsure, the website that didn’t work last year and won’t work this year. A third thing Dr. Westgard didn’t tell you is that 16,000 people who applied for MinnesotaCare through MNsure still haven’t been accepted because the Minnesota Department of Human Services didn’t send out the letters telling them that DHS needed additional information.

The unfortunate thing for Minnesotans is that that list is only a partial list of MNsure failures. I certainly could add this fact to the mix:

The Minnesota Department of Human Services sent 3,000 letters to homes of MinnesotaCare recipients who may have received incorrect monthly billing statements after they applied for health coverage through MNsure, the state’s new health care exchange. The letter tells those recipients the bills may have been wrong for several months, but they encouraged those clients to keep paying the bills anyway.

I could also include this information:

The recent revelation that the state failed to send out letters to 16,000 low-income Minnesotans seeking medical assistance to let them know their applications had not been processed and they were not covered does not surprise Olmsted County Community Services Director Paul Fleissner.

“Every county has been screaming that we didn’t think notices were going out, and the state kept saying yes, yes, yes, people are just forgetting this. We had a really strong sense that they weren’t and finally it’s been confirmed that they weren’t going to our people,” Fleissner said.

Dr. Westgard isn’t stupid. I’ve read his op-eds on energy and found them to be quite informative. Rather, I think Dr. Westgard a) just believes in the ACA and b) was willing to use the DFL’s talking points in writing his LTE.

It’s a shame he didn’t dig into the subject more. It would’ve made for a more authoritative LTE.

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Lefties went apoplectic this week after the DC Circuit issued its ruling in the Halbig v. Burwell lawsuit. Their initial spin was that it was “a drafting error.” Sean Davis’ article laid out the foolishness of their spin. While Davis’ article buried the administration’s spin with irrefutable facts, something that Jonathan Gruber said might hurt them in a court of law even more. Here’s what Gruber said that’s so damning:

What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges.

Gruber isn’t an outsider:

Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who helped design the Massachusetts health law that was the model for Obamacare, was a key influence on the creation of the federal health law. He was widely quoted in the media. During the crafting of the law, the Obama administration brought him on for consultation because of his expertise. He was paid almost $400,000 to consult with the administration on the law. And he has claimed to have written part of the legislation, the section dealing with small business tax credits.

In other words, Gruber admitted, after working on the ACA, that the subsidies were made available for people who bought their insurance through state-established exchanges to put political pressure on reluctant governors and legislators to establish state-run exchanges.

That’s supported by the legislative language of the ACA:

The statutory authority for state-based exchanges comes in section 1311 of Obamacare. The statutory authority for a federal exchange in the event that a state chose not to establish one comes from section 1321(c) of Obamacare. Right off the bat, we have two discrete sections pertaining to two discrete types of health exchange. Was that a “drafting error”?

Then we have the specific construction of section 1321(c), which allows for the creation of a federal exchange. Nowhere does this section say that an exchange created under its authority will have the same treatment as a state-based exchange created under section 1311. At no point does it say that section 1321 plans are equivalent. Why, it’s almost as though the exchanges and the plans offered by them were not intended to receive the same treatment. Was that another “drafting error”?

Most important, we have the sections of the law providing for tax credits to help offset the cost of Obamacare’s health care plans: sections 1401, 1402, 1411, 1412, 1413, 1414, and 1415. And how do those sections establish authority to provide those tax credits? Why, they specifically state ten separate times that tax credits are available to offset the costs of state health exchange plans authorized by section 1311. And how many times are section 1321 federal exchange plans mentioned? Zero.

I’ll repeat myself. Gruber’s quote matches up with the legislative language of the ACA. The good news is that there’s a legislative fix for this problem. Congress can pass legislation that makes the subsidies available to anyone making less than 400% of the federal poverty level, aka FPL.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that House Republicans won’t include things like repealing the medical device manufacturers tax and the individual and employer mandates.

Therein lies the Democrats’ real problem. They’ve gotten their way on every single item in the bill thus far. They aren’t interested in compromising with Republicans on a single provision in the ACA. That’s tough. It’s time for them to stop acting like spoiled brats. It’s time for Democrats to implement some of the Republicans’ good ideas.

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It’s beginning to look like the Democrats are giving Tom Harkin’s Senate seat away. First, Bruce Braley insulted Iowans by criticizing Chuck Grassley for being a hog farmer. Now Braley is fighting for his political life for ignoring his committee assignment on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee:

Over a two-year period, Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley missed 75 percent of meetings for a committee that provides oversight over the Veterans Administration, including one meeting on a day he attended three fundraisers for his 2012 campaign.

A few months later, news reports exposed systemic problems in patient care that have since resulted in the resignation head of the federal department of veterans affairs.

Of course, Democrats were quick to defend Braley:

Democrats who back Braley, a trial lawyer and seven-year congressman who is now running for U.S. Senate, say he has been an outspoken voice for veterans and it’s wrong for his GOP rival, Joni Ernst, to “try to inject partisan politics into veterans issues.” He missed the veterans affairs meeting on the day of the three fundraisers because he went to another congressional hearing, his aides said.

Veterans don’t need someone who’s all talk. What they need most is someone who’s committed to solving the VA crisis. Clearly, Rep. Braley doesn’t fit that description. By comparison, Ms. Ernst does. In fact, she’s currently away from the campaign trail so she can fulfill her commitment in the Iowa National Guard:

Republicans are appealing to Iowans to help campaign for Joni Ernst while she’s on leave for two weeks for active duty training.

Ernst, a candidate for Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat and a battalion commander in the Iowa Army National Guard, leaves Friday for Fort McCoy for annual training.

“During this time, she will not be able to fund-raise, walk in parades, door knock or do other political activity,” Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said in a letter posted on the party’s website this afternoon. “We know Bruce Braley and his liberal D.C. pals will continue their slash-and-burn campaign against Joni while she’s on duty, so anything you can do to help us until Joni returns is greatly appreciated.”

If Braley continues making major mistake after major mistake, he’ll be Ms. Ernst’s best weapon against Bruce Braley. That seems likely considering the fact that he wasn’t where he said he was:

Braley’s aides said he skipped it to attend a 9:36 a.m. Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting on the “Fast and Furious” gun trafficking scandal. The congressional record marked Braley “present,” but reveals that he offered no testimony during the three-hour hearing, which ran until 12:45 p.m.

Video caught no sight of Braley. His seat isn’t always visible, but the multiple times it’s within camera view during the window the Veterans Affairs committee was in session (10:19 a.m. to 11:54 a.m.), Braley wasn’t seated, a Register review of C-SPAN 3 and committee footage found.

Skipping a House VA Committee hearing for a trio of fundraisers is bad enough. Saying that you’re participating in another commitee hearing might get you off the hook…if you’re where you said you were. Apparently, he couldn’t even manage that.

This race isn’t over by a long shot. Still, it won’t help Democrats if Braley continues his litany of major mistakes. Insulting hog farmers in Iowa is as foolish as insulting Packers fans in Wisconsin. Attending a trio of fundraisers while saying you’re in a committee hearing is foolish, too.

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Some amazing things have happened since the Halbig v. Burwell ruling One of those things, according to this transcript, is that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest appears to have developed the ability to read people’s minds:

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: You didn’t answer my question. I said if this decision is upheld, and you were just slapped down by a circuit court, if this decision is upheld, does it effectively gut Obamacare? It means, for instance, that the president can no longer say that people have access to healthcare for the price of a cell-phone bill. This is going to wipe away 4.7 million right now, 4.7 million peoples’ subsidies.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: You and I agree with the fact that there are millions of Americans who currently benefit from those provision of the law. And we are confident that that law has the kind of legal basis to withstand legal scrutiny…

KARL: The letter of the law very clearly states that the subsidies are available to those who enroll in state exchanges. Does the letter of the law matter to the White House on this?

EARNEST: What matters is –

KARL: That is the letter of the law. It’s for state exchanges.

EARNEST: Again, I don’t have the fancy legal degree that I referred to earlier, but what I do think the courts are charged with doing is evaluating the intent of Congress. And the intent of Congress in this case I think is not just clear, it’s transparent. Congress intended for every eligible American to have access to these tax credits that lower their healthcare costs, whether or not the marketplace is run by federal officials or state officials.

It isn’t the Supreme Court’s, nor any other court’s, responsibility to read people’s minds. Their responsibility, in this instance, is to determine whether the statute as written, gives the IRS the authority to send subsidy checks to people who bought health insurance through federal exchanges.

If Congress wanted everyone who made less than 400% of the federal poverty level to receive a subsidy from the IRS, they needed to write that into the ACA. Notice that I said they need to write that into the bill. I didn’t say that they only had to suggest that that’s their intent.

Words have meanings. That’s essentially what the 3-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court ruled. This administration is playing this game because they don’t want to involve Congress in correcting Max Baucus’s mistake. They don’t want to submit it to Congress because Republicans will push for other changes along with the change that President Obama wants made.

It’s time for Democrats to a) simply admit that they made a major mistake and b) submit the bill to Congress and to take their lumps.

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If Greg Davids’ op-ed illustrates anything, it’s that Gov. Dayton isn’t a competent decisionmaker. Actually, Rep. Davids’ op-ed proves another thing. It proves that MNsure’s administrators and DHS bureaucrats are essentially worthless:

DHS and MNsure are simply shrugging their shoulders at the problem. “It’s not MNsure’s job to send the notices,” said one of many highly paid MNsure spokespersons. Part of the DHS response was that the mistake was “not made by a DHS employee, so we can’t answer that one.”

That’s a way of saying ‘we aren’t taking responsibility for MNsure’s failures.’ The problem is a MNsure problem caused by the MNsure website’s frequent failings. DHS should be in the loop on this, too. They’re the people processing the applications.

This ties into something that Jim Nobles, Minnesota’s legislative auditor, spoke about in January. I wrote this post about Nobles’ observations:

Nobles also said he would look into the effects of the May contract amendments. “It’s certainly something that I will pursue very vigorously to find out what triggered that decision,” Nobles said when the amendment was brought to his attention. “What exactly did it mean? Who exactly was…doing the project management?”

MNsure hasn’t been run properly from the start. The fact that the mild-mannered Jim Nobles is questioning who’s in charge should frighten people.

Saying that Rep. Davids “engaged in ‘reckless fear-mongering’” by demanding answers from Gov. Dayton is irresponsible. There’s nothing irresponsible about it. Rep. Davids, like the other 200 people serving in the legislature, is supposed to make sure that the government isn’t pissing people’s money away.

Unlike Gov. Dayton, though, Rep. Davids takes that responsibility seriously.

For more than a year, my colleagues and I have offered helpful solutions and constructive criticism to MNsure on many things, from data privacy to communicating our constituents’ problems with the failed website. Very few have been heeded, and the results keep getting worse.

It’s time for Minnesotans to replace Gov. Dayton and Speaker Thissen. They’re at the heart of this problem. They talk about bipartisanship when they’re in the minority but they’re into my-way-or-the-highway politics when they’re in charge. Thanks to that attitude, Minnesotans are getting hurt.

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Sean Davis’s article utterly demolishes the Left’s argument that the DC Circuit was willing to throw millions of people off health care because of a “drafting error.” Here’s a key portion of Davis’s demolition of that argument:

Let’s take a step back to see how plausible that explanation is. There are two types of exchanges: state-established, and federally established. The statutory authority for state-based exchanges comes in section 1311 of Obamacare. The statutory authority for a federal exchange in the event that a state chose not to establish one comes from section 1321(c) of Obamacare. Right off the bat, we have two discrete sections pertaining to two discrete types of health exchange. Was that a “drafting error”?

Then we have the specific construction of section 1321(c), which allows for the creation of a federal exchange. Nowhere does this section say that an exchange created under its authority will have the same treatment as a state-based exchange created under section 1311. At no point does it say that section 1321 plans are equivalent. Why, it’s almost as though the exchanges and the plans offered by them were not intended to receive the same treatment. Was that another “drafting error”?

Most important, we have the sections of the law providing for tax credits to help offset the cost of Obamacare’s health care plans: sections 1401, 1402, 1411, 1412, 1413, 1414, and 1415. And how do those sections establish authority to provide those tax credits? Why, they specifically state ten separate times that tax credits are available to offset the costs of state health exchange plans authorized by section 1311. And how many times are section 1321 federal exchange plans mentioned? Zero. Was that yet another “drafting error”?

Either these progressive pundits are the worst liars in the world or the person who wrote the legislation is the most inept person ever to draft legislation. I’m voting for the former, not the latter.

It’s obvious that the bill was written properly. It’s obvious that Democrats didn’t think 36 states would opt out of establishing a state-run health insurance exchange, aka HIX.

The media’s fiction that this was a drafting error is intellectually dishonest intended at painting the judges as hate-filled conservatives who don’t care about poor people. The truth is that it’s Democrats that intentionally played politics with poor people’s lives.

They’re the people who wrote the law to not include subsidies for people buying insurance through Healthcare.gov. They’re the people who didn’t see anything wrong with the bill until after it became obvious that they’d miscalculated the popularity of the HIXs. They’re the people who made faulty assumptions.

Mr. Davis has written and/or proofed standalone legislation and legislative amendments:

When I worked in the Senate, I spent countless hours reading through various appropriation and spending bills. I also drafted hundreds of amendments, as well as a standalone public law. During the years I spent reading through proposed legislation, it was not uncommon to find obvious errors in bills and amendments. Sometimes you would see a date written as 3015 instead of 2015. Sometimes a non-existent section would be referenced, or a section number in a table of contents might be wrong. Other times, you might see a dollar figure that had too few or too many zeroes (seriously, that happened). You might even find a misspelled word or an incorrect line number every now and again. Those were true “drafting errors,” the typos of the legislative world.

The deliberate creation of a separate section to authorize a separate federal entity is not a drafting error. The repeated and deliberate reference to one section but not another is not a drafting error. The refusal to grant equal authority to two programs authorized by two separate sections is not a drafting error. The decision to specifically reference section X but not section Y in a portion of a law that grants spending or tax authority is not a drafting error.

Simply put, the Left knows that they’re in real danger of having the heart of the ACA ripped from the bill. If the subsidies disappear, the ACA, aka Obamacare, disappears, too. They know that they can’t argue the law. Arguing that is foolish. Appealing to the judges’ partisanship is the only avenue they have for winning.

At the heart of this matter is the fact that Democrats made a faulty assumption. At the heart of this matter is the fact that Democrats thought this bill would be much more popular than it is. They wrote the law based on the opinion that the ACA would pressure Republicans into supporting a terrible bill.

Democrats were wrong about that.

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The whining on the left hasn’t stopped since the DC Circuit Court’s ruling on Halbig v. Burwell. This article is a perfect example of the Left’s whining:

The Affordable Care Act was designed to offer premium tax credits (subsidies) to people to purchase private health insurance on government-run exchanges — at least those earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level. The belief among legislators was that the exchanges would be state-based, so the section of the law authorized subsidies to those enrolled “through an Exchange established by the State.”

Simply put, this is proof that the people writing the ACA wanted one thing but didn’t write the bill properly. If they wanted everyone “earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level” to get premium supports regardless of which exchange they bought it through, they should’ve written that into the law.

The assumption that “the exchanges would be state-based” is a sloppy assumption. Sloppy assumptions make terrible laws. It isn’t the judges’ fault that Max Baucus didn’t write the bill properly. Further, it isn’t the judges’ fault that the writing of the law was shrouded in secrecy.

Had this been a transparent operation, someone might’ve caught Sen. Baucus’s mistake. Had Sen. Baucus not made a terrible assumption, if that’s what it was, the bill might’ve been written with more clarity.

Blaming Democrats’ mistakes on Republicans is pathetic. Sen. Baucus, Sen. Reid and then-Speaker Pelosi made a series of decisions that produced sloppyily-written legislation. That’s on their heads, not the judges’ heads. It’s one thing to argue intent when the legislative language isn’t clear. It’s another to argue when the legislative language includes a straightforward, declarative statement.

At that point, that straightforward, declarative statement is what judges should base their opinion on. The Democrats’ attorneys argument is essentially that Baucus, Reid and Pelosi made a mistake in writing the bill, therefore the judges should clean up their mistake.

That isn’t the court’s responsibility. If Obama, Reid and Pelosi want to fix the law, the only constitutional remedy is to submit the correction to the legislative process. I wrote yesterday that the Democrats don’t want to do that because House Republicans might actually want to include other provisions in the bill that Democrats don’t like. That’s tough. If Obama, Reid and Pelosi didn’t want Republicans to have that type of leverage, they should’ve written the bill right the first time.

Their whining now just indicates that they’re looking for a skapegoat to blame for their mistakes. It’s time for them to put on their big boy pants and accept the fact that they put together a sloppy piece of legislation. It isn’t the court’s responsibility to clean up politicians’ messes. That’s the politician’s responsibility.

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I’ve spent the last half of Tuesday illustrating the fact that Section 36B is clearly written. In this clip, Charles Krauthammer explains that the bill’s language is exceptionally straightforward:

The language in the bill simply states that the subsidies are ony available to people purchasing health insurance through state-run exchanges. This doesn’t require guessing. It just requires the ability to believe what you’ve heard.

After Charles’ explanation, Kirsten Powers argued that the language was ambiguous. She essentially said that the intent was clear if you read the entire section. This doesn’t have anything to do with reading the entire section. The only context that’s required is the simple declarative statement.

The statement isn’t filled with caveats. It’s straightforward. It’s declarative.

What the administration and its apologists are arguing is that we should a) accept their word that they really meant for everyone of a certain income level to qualify for subsidies and b) ignore the straightforward language of the bill.

My response to that is simple. I don’t read minds to determine legislative intent and I don’t trust liberals who say that federal statutes really mean whatever liberals insist they mean at any point in history. Liberal constitutional law Professor Jonathan Turley agrees with me on that. Here’s what he said:

I’d love hearing Kirsten Powers or Ron Fournier dispute Professor Turley’s explanation. Ultimately, though, Prof. Turley is right in saying that this is about more than the ACA. It’s about which branch of government has the responsibility to correct the law. Ultimately, the question is whether the executive branch can usurp the legislative branch’s authority to write new laws.

Dishonest progressives argue that the executive branch isn’t writing new laws. They’re lying about that. The plain language of the bill says one thing and they’re saying that the straightforward wording isn’t what they meant.

Let’s remember that the ACA was written by Max Baucus in Harry Reid’s office. Dishonest progressives want me to believe that Sen. Baucus was so inept that he accidentally slipped that language into the bill. He’s written dozens of bills and hundreds of amendments to bills. I’m supposed to think that he mistakenly put in a straightforward-sounding statement runs contrary to his intent into the most important bill he ever wrote. Why would I buy into that?

Further, even if I thought that was the truth, I’d still argue that the executive branch, in this instance the IRS, has the authority to rewrite that language to mean what it wants the section to mean years after the fact. The language is clear. When the language is clear, the intent is clear.

I don’t need a clairvoyant to determine what Sen. Baucus meant. I just need a little common sense, a little reading ability and the ability to ignore misinformed liberals.

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