Republican Victory Turns Into Defeat as Second Court Rules Obamacare Subsidies Are Legal


The Republican “victory” on the legality of Obamacare subsidies for the federal exchange quickly turned to defeat as a second appeals court ruled that the subsidies are legal.

Via The New York Times:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, upheld the subsidies, saying that a rule issued by the Internal Revenue Service was “a permissible exercise of the agency’s discretion.”

A similar approach was sounded later by the Fourth Circuit panel, which said, “We find that the applicable statutory language is ambiguous and subject to multiple interpretations.” The court said it would, therefore, give deference to the reading of the law by the Internal Revenue Service, which issued the rule allowing payment of subsidies for people in all states, regardless of whether the state had a federal or state exchange.

That Republican victory that they claimed would be a deathblow to Obamacare didn’t last very long. The reason why the two courts offered to two different rulings is the standard that each applied. The D.C. court that ruled that the federal exchange subsidies were illegal did so based on only the language of the statute. The Richmond court used traditional legal reasoning and took legislative intent under consideration.

For those of you keeping score at home, three courts have ruled the subsidies legal and one court has ruled them illegal. The D.C. ruling is widely expected to be overturned. The Republican win evaporated before they could get their talking points rolling.

Instead of dealing Obamacare a fatal blow, and taking health insurance away from millions of Americans, Republicans saw their celebration come to an abrupt halt. The D.C. decision lacks credibility because it was arrived at by two Republican judges who deviated from the norms of legal reasoning in order to come to their partisan conclusion.

Neither of these decisions is the final word, but the subsidies are likely not going anywhere. Republicans are spinning their wheels on this one. Obamacare is the law of the land, and it is here to stay.

79 Replies to “Republican Victory Turns Into Defeat as Second Court Rules Obamacare Subsidies Are Legal”

  1. The right wing Rethugs will stop at nothing to preserve the ultra-rich, even if it means destroying the lives of the other 99%. Let’s hope their latest effort is a failure.

  2. I think if those repub politicians don’t people to have health care then they shouldn’t either. WE are paying for their health care. I’ve never seen people fight so hard to deny their own people basic rights.

    Let’s assume that the repubs got all their wishes. No minimum wage, no health care, no safety net. No medicare or social security. Just how long do they think it would be until they were being strung up in the streets?

  3. Huckleberry, I couldn’t agree more. The repubs are not forward thinking enough to see the revolution that would come for them should they win. Night of the Living Liberals.

  4. “The Richmond court used traditional legal reasoning and took legislative intent under consideration.”

    The DC court, Scalia’s last proctologic exam results.

  5. Simple: Republicans are liars, cheaters, obstructionists, misogynists, racist, morons that will serve the people up on a platter for the KOCHs and other 1% buddies.

  6. Now you know there is no such thing as conservative activist judges. There are only liberal activist judges.

  7. Historians will observe that during the Obama administration, a new low was reached,for conservative jurisprudence; both in terms of using the bench for political expedience, and for the slap-dash quality of their decisions. Clearly the DC Court engaged in the very thing conservatives continually rail against, while ignoring ALL precedent to reach a desired conclusion. This won’t be the last, or the worst example, as they search for their great White Hope.

  8. Well since there is no god at least not one who is mean spirited and selfish as your dumbass. The ACA will not go down only premiums have gone down compared to what public was forced to pay before the ACA that your teabilly ass cant comprehend.

    Obamacare Premiums Aren’t Living Up to Doomsayers’ Predictions

    Early results suggest single-digit increases, not a price apocalypse.

  9. Doesnt the republican party have any foresight? Take insurance away fr4om millions, gain millions of votes? I think not.

    These people are eating from the stupid tree in the garden of arrogance

  10. Oh, there is a God.

    He was the one feeding the Poor, healing the Sick, all at no charge.

    In other words, he’s a Commie !

  11. Well Huckleberry, from my observations, I don’t think Republicans are capable of thinking that far ahead, they seem to be completely ruled by emotion and the jerking of their knees.

  12. The crucial question is how do we convince people that believe in the right, that they are voting against they’re own best interests?

  13. Andy,

    I understand the frustration of those who champion the ACA.

    However, the law *clearly* states the subsidies only apply to state exchanges. If you now say that’s not what congress intended, then you also must apply that same logic to the constitution when interpreting that law as well.

    You cannot have it one way when it suits you and another when it doesn’t. You’re either going to be an originalist in interpreting law, or not.

    Pick one.

  14. Shiva, I’m not saying this to be funny at all but I really do think that conservatism is a mental disorder, that is the only explanation I can come up with for the way they act.

  15. You mean like how republican judges have fundamentally ended access to safe and legal abortion in 24 States? Or maybe like the Supreme Court now lets your employer decide which healhcare benefits you get? Yeah, you don’t know poop about activist judges..

  16. You must not believe in Jesus either… He preached about caring for others, and not enriching oneself on the backs of others.

    Hate is an ugly thing, Wise One. You mask it poorly.

  17. @ Raymond

    I have seen this argument a lot that it’s a mystery why those dumb people would “vote against their own best interest”.

    The answer is principle. In this case, it’s the principle of law.

    The complaint is the *effect* of the court ruling with no consideration for a coherent system of law.

    In this case, the language is crystal clear. To say that there is some other intent of congress is not realistic. And if the language is clear and the intent is clear, then the court should uphold that language and that intent.

    The alternative is to have laws that are passed by congress in a democratic process by duly authorized representatives of the people that have CLEAR language, and then allow the judiciary to change those laws at will to suit a political agenda.

  18. You are so right – that is the key. The current GOP is truly anti-middle class and anyone in a protected class. Voters from those groups who vote GOP are doing it solely because they live in places where group-think requires them to be “conservative”. They vote for a party not based on what they do, but what they hate and who they exclude. Fear that they will fall farther still. Sad.

  19. First of all, I trust that our President would not institute ACA illegally. He does not play games with peoples’ lives, the GOP does.

  20. OK, Woody the Peckerhead, you obviously don’t know much about law. The intent of the law is clear, a typo is not enough to throw a crucial element of the law out just because conservatives are desperate for any path to denying people health care. Enjoy your resounding defeat in November, it is coming.

  21. Did someone say there is no such thing as an activist conservative judge? The SCOTUS has at least 4 of them! Will this end up going there?

  22. Apparently you do not get sarcasm when you see it.
    All you hear about are the “liberal activist” judges from the RWNJs.
    Do you get it now?

  23. this is going to be fun. I am just going to sit back and enjoy the movie. the obama administration will prevail towards the end, and it wii be nice to see the gop retards whine about “activists judges.”

  24. Except that the DC Court failed to consider the intent of the law and two of the three judges ruled their partisan ideology rather than using any legal reasoning whatsoever.

  25. There is a God, there is an ACA here to stay and there is a brilliant compassionate President….Mr. wise-one…

  26. The only decision that will matter to the Teapublicans is the one that said what they wanted to hear. Nothing will be said about the second one. We are basically back to square one as far as convincing them that the ACA is a good thing.

  27. The crazy thing is that a lot of the teanuts have insurance now because of the ACA, but they’re to dumb to realize it. They truly are a clueless bunch.

  28. “The Richmond court used traditional legal reasoning and took legislative intent under consideration.”

    Then you are apparently agreeing that ‘Original Intent’ is the proper way the courts should interpret laws, including the Constitution.

    This is a moral problem for you. You champion “legislative intent” on this law, but not when discussing the US Constitution.

    How does one square that?

  29. I’m pissed at whoever wrote the language that allowed the Republican Judges ruling. But it proves how low they will go to destroy Obama’s signature achievement. Using grammatical errors, ubiquitous language as an excuse to deny millions healthcare subsidies?
    Democrats should’ve known they’d jump on it. I had enough from these SOBs. If we don’t GOTV in November, Dems deserve the pain these bastards inflict on us. All the bitching won’t change a thing, voting will. Voting’s harder because the fascists have gotten creative at stealing that from us too. But it’s all we have left.

  30. Your “sarcasm” has the exact same words as republican earnestness. So no, I did not catch that you meant the exact opposite of what you typed. But at least you’re gracious about it instead of insulting…..

    (Yes dear, THAT is sarcasm.)

  31. THERE IS A GOD……….READ ROMANS 13:1+2
    13 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

    2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

  32. LOL, or you could read any religions books that say pretty much the same thing

    Although most religions are kinder then christianity and Islam

  33. Yep, the tea nuts will be reveling that President Obama’s healthcare was gutted, and they are too stupid to know THAT IS WHAT THEY HAVE..and that is the only insurance they have probably ever had.

    Of course, they will then vote against their best interests. I have never seen such an evil bunch until the past 6 years of the GOP. They are just plain evil, there is nothing productive about anything they do. They are soulless. Tell me..what does the GOP get out of denying healthcare to sick people?

  34. I’d fix the GOP ass..everyone get out and vote in 2014..and get enough Dems in office to go for single payer.

  35. They have to crash and burn first..then they will wake up that they are voting against their best interests. No other way, they hate education; they hate thinking; all they know is guns, fetuses, and the bible.

  36. You are right Gina. The GOP is so full of hate and envy of President Obama, that instead of doing their jobs for 6 years, all they have done is seek out ways to inject their malfeasance on the American people and the President. They are a bunch of losers. They deserve to walk a mile in a sick person’s shoes who cannot get healthcare.

  37. The Clinton do not qualify as the ultra rich or the 1%

    But keep trying and supporting people like the Waltons, who make more in one day then the Clinton’s have in a year.

  38. I apologize. I usually get sarcasm but I totally missed it that time. I came back to read newer comments and as soon as I reread yours, I knew I screwed up. Very sorry.

  39. “Then you are apparently agreeing that ‘Original Intent’ is the proper way the courts should interpret laws, including the Constitution.”

    Hobby lobby showed the absurdity of “Strict Constructionists” who legislate from the bench, while claiming to follow “original intent.”

    Read the dissent of the third member of the DC court, and the reason this will be overturned when it comes before the full DC circuit. You’re playing rhetorical games, that have zero to do with legal precedent. Dismissed.

  40. This is a moral problem for you. You champion “legislative intent” on this law, but not when discussing the US Constitution.

    How does one square that?

    Strawman argument. Is that really the best you can do?

  41. Republicans want everyone to have heal th care. Obama lied and said that the Americans can keep their health plans but that sure never happened. Republicans also want minimum wage. Actually businesses like Wal Mart and hobby lobby pay their employees more than minimum wage and they happen to be owned by conservatives. Raising minimum wage makes prices go higher and gets rid of more jobs. I’ve seen it happen at mine

  42. Beth – you are worried about someone other than you and your doctor making your health care decisions? – have you ever read a single word of the ACA?? Start with section 3403 -This creates an appointed board who, without going through typical administrative process, will have the power to declare tests/procedures presumptively unnecessary. So much for you and your doctor deciding. Unlike any other administrative entity that propounds regulations, it will take a super majority of congress to pass legislation to overturn these regulations. No surprise – from the start Obama said cost savings would come from eliminating “unnecessary procedures and tests.” If you and your doctor disagree with the panel on what is necessary you can vote for a rep who will work to dismantle the board. But move fast, starting in 2017 it will take a super majority of congress to do this. Bye separation of powers, hello executive fiat – you asked for…..

  43. Bloomberg begs to differ.

    Hillary’s earnings represent a fraction of the Clinton family’s total income and yet were large enough to rank her not only in the top 1 percent of the nation’s earners but in the top one-hundredth of the 1 percent.

    Oh…and on topic…if O’care goes back to the Supremes, I’d say odds are good for the administration. 5-4 ruling.

  44. since when do right wingers not like rich people?
    i guess when the rich ones are democrats, but rich republicans are just fine, and above the law.

  45. Right. And the insurance companys you support have been doing this all along.

    Speaking of along, move along

  46. “… not what Congress intended”

    Guess what, sparky – Judges are actually REQUIRED to consider the INTENT of a law.

    You know how I know that? Your hero, Antonin Scalia said so just last month:

    “[The] fundamental canon of statutory construction that the words of a statute must be read in their context and with a view to their place in the overall statutory scheme.”

    So enjoy your little “victory” jig now – but rest assured the Courts will NOT overturn ObamaCare because of a typo.

    Even Scalia says so!

  47. since when do right wingers not like rich people?
    Who said anything about not liking “rich people”?
    I put up a link in which Bloomberg states the Clintons are quite wealthy.
    That’s it.

    But since we’re on the subject, the only problem I’ve had so far with the Clinton’s wealth is Hillary’s own statements about it. She should own who and what she is in every aspect. Her past comments have made it appear as though she’s trying to run away from her financial success.
    Not a very smart strategy if you ask me.

  48. This would not be tolerated in most civilized countries.
    A group of rich old men sitting in Washington refusing to do their jobs, but getting very generous wages and health care at our expense, and they are trying to keep americans from getting affordable health care.

    Now, in uncivil societies under these circumstances they probably would be asassinated!

  49. The law clearly states no such thing… which is why the Libertarian habit of parsing language isn’t working out so well as a legal argument in the courts:)

  50. “Original intent” means two completely different things to normal people vs Tea Party nutters. The court took into consideration the intent of Congress in regard to the ACA legislation in this case. Meanwhile, baggers consider “original intent” as upholding the original Constitution minus that pesky Bill of Rights.

    Which tells us quite a lot about you and your willingness to use the courts to further the Tea Party agenda, embracing whatever contradiction suits you at a given moment.

  51. Dearheart, sarcasm is dead – the Tea Party killed it:) You can’t make up more absurd shit than they propose on a daily basis. But bless your heart for trying. Do come back, some of us sincerely appreciate the effort.

  52. If you’re going with the equivalent of Palin’s “death panels” – i.e., a deliberate misinterpretation of that “appointed board” (and yes most of us have read the relevant text in the ACA which is how we know you’re insane) then you can’t claim “reason” as an identifier.

  53. The answer to the question as to why baggers consistently advocate for policies detrimental to their own health and well-being is religious indoctrination, not principle:

    “Biblical Capitalism – The Religious Right’s War on Progressive Economic Policy – Tea Party ideology is not new but taps into decades of Religious Right instruction on ‘Biblical Capitalism.'”

    It’s funny how Tea Party Jesus came to adopt the Koch agenda, init? “Barton’s Bunk: Religious Right ‘Historian’ Hits the Big Time in Tea Party America – Barton’s Bible = Tea Party Platform”

    This explains why Tea Party Stupid™ is so unwavering in its audacity.

    Furthermore, the Tea Party demonstrates on a daily basis that it has not principles:

  54. Republicans have repeatedly said that they don’t want everyone to have healthcare unless they can pay out the ass for it and even so they don’t want the health insurance industry regulated to make sure they don’t drop you the moment you get sick. Not only that, the GOP Tea Party faction intends to voucherize Medicare, privatize Tricare and veterans benefits, and end Medicaid. It’s in their freaking budget. Jesus H. Christ, don’t you listen to your own party’s politicians or are you just a deliberately lying sack of skin? If all else fails, read your own politicians’ legislation and budget proposals!

  55. The Politicians are feeding u whatever u want hear to get elected, and then go back on everything they promised. Esp. Obama and his Administration! How can you say either party doesn’t want health care, minimum wage increases etc…. we all want the same things! Instead of all this back bitting you seem so fond of doing, run in the next election or at least vote to try and make a difference! You ALL make me sick!!!!!!

  56. “How can you say either party doesn’t want health care, minimum wage increases”

    You simply watch who votes for what. The gop has voted against both of the above, the Democrats havent.

    You lose

  57. Classically pathetic response Kfreed – you have no reply to what I posted, so you launch into an attack on what you believe someone else (Palin) said. Try addressing the argument I made. If something I said about the IPAB is “insane,” be specific – tell me what I said that is inaccurate — point me to the language. Am I wrong about the board or the super majorities of congress required to invalidate the board’s regulatory actions or to eliminate the board as of 2017? Am I wrong about the fact that this type of power shifting from the legislative to the executive branch is unprecedented? You can disagree on what the board will do with their power, but your lack of concern over the fact that the board is taken out of the system of checks and balances is scary. Frankly, I think you simply lied about having read any of the legislation; anyone who had read it and disagreed would have attempted a direct and substantive reply rather than a pointless rant.

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