GOP Stooge Tries To Take Healthcare From 13 Million Because He Wishes Obama Wasn’t Born

People who stand to lose in King v Berwell

This past week, House Republicans voted for the 56th time to take healthcare away from 10 million Americans.  To be sure, that vote was mere theatre to humor the Republican base because even if or when it gets through the McConnell Senate, President Obama will veto the bill.

However, the Republicans aren’t limiting their war with the health and lives of millions of Americans to political theater.  Next month, the Supreme Court of the United States will consider King v. Burwell, in which millions of people will be affected. The Court will consider if the ACA originally intended to restrict subsidies to people in states that set up their own exchanges.  This is the third time the Supreme Court is considering a case in which the goal was to take healthcare away from millions of Americans.

When it comes to providing access to affordable healthcare, even with the Affordable Care Act, America lags behind other nations.  No doubt, the ACA is a vast improvement over corporate death panels, the blackballing of people with pre-existing conditions and the inherent sexism in which women were charged higher premiums simply because we are women.

Ultimately, the Affordable Care Act is the health care system that Republicans loved before it became the compromise that President Barack Obama accepted as an alternative to doing nothing.

Since then Republicans compared the ACA to slavery and the Holocaust, while offering nothing that addresses the fact that corporate death and sick care is not healthcare. The irony is for profit healthcare does the very things Republicans try to attribute to the ACA.

Should King prevail in the Supreme Court, people who live in states that didn’t set up their own exchanges will cease to be eligible for Federal subsidies.  In turn that will drive up insurance costs for people in states with exchanges, and therefore make healthcare security a thing of the past for them.

Healthcare insecurity means people put off going to the doctor until whatever ails them becomes unbearable, potentially deadly and without question more expensive to treat.  It means a return to the days of the clinic of last resort – the emergency room where healthcare is also the most expensive.)

The plaintiff in this case, is 64 year old David M. King, who, with an income of $39,000, cannot afford the market based healthcare his party believes in. In her profile of King, Jennifer Haberkorn of Politico said:

 A review of King’s public social media accounts show he is a proud grandfather who loves his family, enjoys cooking and sharing photos from conservative blogs. One image shows a photo from the movie “Back to the Future” with instructions to the time traveler: “Marty, there is no time to lose. You must go back in time and give Obama’s dad a condom.

Obviously, King has little to gain accept “freedom” from access to healthcare.  However, King personifies the very thing that is wrong with that system. Not only is he financially precluded from buying “market based” healthcare, it is highly probable that the rest of us will end up picking up the tab for his healthcare expenses.

He argues that this is about his freedom of choice and getting away from the “tyranny” of government subsidies that would make healthcare accessible to him and would entail that he pay something based on his ability to pay.  He’s wrong.

This is about what his suit does to the 13 million Americans who want healthcare security but were denied the freedom to make that choice under the old system, be it because they couldn’t afford it or because they had pre-existing conditions.

Not that King’s motive will or should matter to the Supreme Court.  However, even if one wants to be charitable to his contention that the ACA only allows federal subsidies to people in state based exchanges, it doesn’t work.

The text that King relies on to make his case is 26 U.S.C. § 36B(c)(2)(A)(i) which says:

 the monthly premiums for such month for 1 or more qualified health plans offered in the individual market within a State which cover the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse, or any dependent (as defined in section152) of the taxpayer and which were enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State under 1311  [1] of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,

The IRS interpreted that to mean that people who get healthcare through state exchanges or the federal exchange and are eligible for subsidies can get them.  King (and his friends) hinge their argument on a “plain reading” of the law.  Even then, King’s argument doesn’t work.

For one thing, King (and his supporters) claim that a letter by Democrats proves King’s claim regarding the original intent of the ACA.  However, even the most literal interpretation of that letter suggests that King (and his backers) are grasping at straws.

You can read the letter in its entirety and judge for yourself at the link above if you wish.  In my reading, the letter, actually suggests an intent to assure that people living in obstructionist states can still benefit from what is, in reality, a national program – including eligibility for subsidies.

It begins with recognizing that some states will refuse to set up state exchanges and goes on to the ways that can be addressed.  Eventually it gets to the point of discussing a federal exchange and that exchange’s ability to administer “federal affordability credits.”

Reforming our nation’s health care system is a national effort that requires a national solution, not a piecemeal approach.  A single, national health insurance exchange will not only administer federal affordability credits and receive federal start-up funds, but will also be charged with enforcing federal laws and regulations.  As the Commonwealth Fund recently reported, a single, national health insurance exchange would ensure uniform, national availability of health insurance plans, better serve consumers, and have the resources to appropriately regulate insurers.

Think Progress asked the letter’s author, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tx) via email what he and his cosigners meant in the letter.  Here is what he is reported to have said:

Doggett replied that he and his ten colleagues “neither specifically mention nor contemplate the far-fetched argument now advanced by reform opponents that premium tax credits would only be available for state-based exchanges.”

As important, elsewhere in the law The Department of Health and Human Services is ordered to set up an exchange in states that fail to set up their own.  So, in reality, the Federal exchange acts as a proxy to fulfill the same intentions of the law as occurs in states that set up their own exchange.  In that sense, there was an inferred intent, explicitedly confirmed by the letter, that people would have the same benefit of the law, regardless of whether they signed up for Obamacare via a State exchange or the Federal Exchange.

King’s argument is both far fetched and desperate.  The question is whether the Supreme Court will rule based on the stated intentions of lawmakers or someone whose lawsuit could take healthcare away from 13 million Americans because the plaintiff in that suit wishes Obama was never born.

Image: The Kaiser Foundation

24 Replies to “GOP Stooge Tries To Take Healthcare From 13 Million Because He Wishes Obama Wasn’t Born”

  1. It would appear that to all of the TP/GOP. One of their greatest desires is to see Millions of people suffering from a lack of health care. Plus they get to read about the added feature of all of the deaths in the newspaper as well. This appears to be a TP/GOP win/win scenario. It would appear by their numerous policies.That they just love making people suffer,starve and die. A real TP/GOP adrenaline rush for couch potatoes.

  2. If Mr King is 64 he will probably get medicare soon anyway. These idiots are just republican stooges, they probably could care less about the ACA.

  3. Interesting the Supreme Court is taking the ACA once again as of June 28,2012 the
    Supreme Court Rules ObamaCare is Constitutional.

    After months of speculation, the Supreme Court upheld the president’s signature health-care reform Thursday. In a 5-4 decision, the country’s highest court ruled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act constitutional, and does not exceed Congress’ scope of powers.

  4. dichefron is correct. King is a rabid Obama hater and nothing but a stooge for the Republicans working to end Obamacare. He is a Vietnam war veteran, and that makes his elibible for veterans health benefit. He has no dog in this fight, and throws into question his ability to challenge the law. He is not eligible for the subsidies, and his argument that subsidies harm him just doesn’t hold any water. He should be dismissed as a plaintiff.

  5. When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front row seat. ~ George Carlin

    Nothing else to say here folks.

  6. Who is this fool King? Obviously he’s not taking his “happy” pills for his PTSD! Why can’t he just go fishing and be happy and stop worrying that someone might be getting affordable healthcare or expanded Medicaid.

  7. As an iraq vet I too have no dog in this race, I thank god everyday for my VA benefits.
    But I ask my self this: 56 times? really 56?
    If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result, well……
    Lets quit spending our precious time and tax dollars flogging a dead horse and move on to legislation to help the American people.

  8. so instead of this guy having to PAY HIS OWN WAY, which is the stalwart of the GOP, he thinks when HE gets SICK, and he will, that WE should PAY FOR HIM???? Isn’t that what the GOP call SOCIALISM??? or is he a TAKER, that the GOP claims any one expecting other tax payers to pick up the tab are called??

  9. Funny the GOP plotters would pick a patsy who either:
    1) Qualifies for VA care as a veteran.
    2) Will be eligible for Medicare in one year when he turns 65.
    I can believe SCOTUS even agreed to hear this!

  10. This Kochroaches Congress is what needs to be repealed. Repeal the Rs and Tbags!
    Sound rational? Wish it could be done.


  11. Taking care of our veterans’ health, for those who do make it back, should always be top priority. Making sure their families have what they need to resume their lives should be foremost as well.

    I don’t care what the budget is, those who have served should come first.

    No, I am not a vet; but vets deserve far more than what the GOP is willing to give.

  12. That being said, this guy has been fed the BS and bought into it. He hates POTUS, that is the main issue. It is too bad he has such an empty heart.

  13. To my way of thinking, the GOPers trying to get rid of the ACA is simply telling us what most of us already know: They are useless!
    The ACA is a fact of life and it is working. That galls the GOPers! They can’t stand that a black dude is doing something no white man has been able to accomplish.
    Yup, I do believe that racism is at the bottom of all of the bellyaching over the ACA. That is the only logical meaning of what the TEAliban is attempting to do.
    The GOPers have NOTHING in place with which to replace PPACA with. The PP is Patient Protection followed with the Affordable Care Act.
    The Koch Brothers are whipping up opposition to the act because it is against their belief that nobody should get ANYTHING from the government. They were raised as far right wing libertarians and the sooner that more people realize what they are doing, the better.
    Another target for the greedy boys is Social Security. They are pushing the lie that it is bankrupt when it isn’t.

  14. Tonight, I watched a new documentary about the Koch Brothers. It is incredible what they want to do to this country.
    They want to dump Social Security the way it is now. They want people to retire at 70 instead of 65 and they want the people to invest in Wall Street with part of their SS benefits. I bet they would love to make it law that they could only invest in Koch Industries, the 2nd largest corporation in the United States.
    They are polluting streams near homes which is resulting in lung cancer. It is frightening to see just how little care they have for people who are not billionaires.
    In one school district in North Carolina they tried to bring back SEGREGATION to the schools. They do not like blacks and whites mixing together because it could mongrolize the races. Those BASTARDS!
    They have bought most of the Republican members of the House and Senate.
    Those brothers are two of the most dangerous people in this country. They want to DESTROY our democratic republic.

  15. You just cant make this shit up

    In fact, none of them really are harmed by the law, and one—64 year old Brenda Levy—is aghast at the idea that she might be partially responsible for millions losing health insurance.

    [S]he said she didn’t recall exactly how she had been selected as a plaintiff in the case to begin with. “I don’t know how I got on this case. I haven’t done a single thing legally. I’m gonna have to ask them how they found me,” she told me. She thought lawyers involved with the case may have contacted her at some point and she had decided to “help ’em out.” […]
    When I asked her if she realized that her lawsuit could potentially wipe out health coverage for millions, she looked befuddled. “I don’t want things to be more difficult for people,” she said. “I don’t like the idea of throwing people off their health insurance.”
    Read More

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