Heartland Institute Experts React to Obamacare Decision by Supreme Court

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By a vote of 6–3 the United States Supreme Court today ruled in favor of the Obama administration in King v. Burwell, a case that challenged the federal government’s authority to provide subsidies for the purchase of health insurance for Obamacare in states that did not set up exchanges.

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Peter Ferrara, senior fellow for entitlement and budget policy, The Heartland Institute

The Supreme Court today put its stamp of approval on President Obama rewriting the law as he chooses. The Separation of Powers has fallen, the rule of law has fallen, the Supreme Court has fallen. President Obama now has the power to rule by decree.

By a vote of 6–3 the United States Supreme Court today ruled in favor of the Obama administration in King v. Burwell, a case that challenged the federal government’s authority to provide subsidies for the purchase of health insurance for Obamacare in states that did not set up exchanges.

The following statements from health care policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at jlakely(at)heartland(dot)org and (cell) 312/731-9364.

“The Supreme Court today put its stamp of approval on President Obama rewriting the law as he chooses. The Separation of Powers has fallen, the rule of law has fallen, the Supreme Court has fallen. President Obama now has the power to rule by decree.”

Peter Ferrara
Senior Fellow
The Heartland Institute
peterferrara(at)msn(dot)com
312/377-4000

Mr. Ferrara is the author of "The Obamacare Disaster."

“Today’s decision reflects the priorities of this politicized Supreme Court, which is willing to go to ridiculous lengths and offer ‘pure applesauce’ to justify protecting President Obama’s signature health care law. The ruling concedes that this case was justified by plain text reading, but goes to absurd effort to justify the continuation of Obamacare’s regime of subsidies and taxes. This reflects accurately the state of affairs in Washington, which operates under the rule of men, not of laws.

“But as a practical matter, opponents of this law should not be disappointed in this ruling. It would’ve only undone a portion of Obamacare’s unconstitutional activity, and with the case going the way it has, it avoids a circumstance where Republicans would’ve felt pressure to sustain the subsidies and put their fingerprints on this law. Now those who favor free markets have an opportunity to make their case in a clean circumstance, where their opponents own the entirety of Obamacare’s unpopular status quo.”

Benjamin Domenech
Senior Fellow, Health Care Policy
The Heartland Institute
Publisher, The Federalist
ben(at)thefederalist(dot)com
312/377-4000

“When is a penalty a ‘tax’ and a ‘State’ not a ‘State?’ When Chief Justice Roberts says so, that’s when. In ruling once again to uphold an unconstitutional statute in the cause of political expediency, the Chief has wandered so far through Alice in Wonderland’s Looking Glass that he may never return.

“Merely ten days after the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, this is a sad day for the rule of law.”

David Applegate
Senior Fellow, Legal Affairs
The Heartland Institute
DLA(at)willmont(dot)com
312/377-4000

“As the current decision shows, both the nation’s Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch are actively and openly rewriting laws, in defiance of their constitutional limitations. This is the very opposite of what the nation’s founders wanted in establishing the separation of powers. That principle was established in order to limit the power of the national government, whereas today’s Congress, courts, and presidents use it to expand their powers. This is another of many sad days for this nation in recent years.”

S.T. Karnick
Director of Research
The Heartland Institute
stkarnick(at)gmail(dot)com
312/377-4000

“After today’s ruling by the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell, it appears Americans are now stuck with Obamacare until it finally collapses under its own weight, but not before it plunges the market for private health insurance into chaos. This will no doubt cause the federal government to step in and create a single-payer health care rationing system run by the Democrats and the federal government, which was Obama’s plan all along when he inflicted his massive health care deform bill upon us.”

Kenneth Artz
Research Fellow, Health Care Policy
Managing Editor, Health Care News
iamkenartz(at)hotmail(dot)com
312/377-4000

“King v. Burwell was a surprising interpretation of language. As Chief Justice Roberts said in his opinion, ‘The Affordable Care Act contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting. (To cite just one, the Act creates three separate Section 1563s.)’

“The Act defines ‘state exchange’ to include any exchange that a state establishes, or a U.S. territory establishes, or the District of Columbia establishes. The Chief Justice now tells us that ‘state’ means ‘federal’ too. Why? Because Congress approved a sloppy law (one that many members of Congress apparently never read), so the Court can now amend the language; as Chief Justice Roberts reasoned, ‘Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.’

“Expect other federal courts to amend other legislation by saying that one word really means another word. As the dissent pointed out, words ‘no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is ‘established by the State.’”

Ronald D. Rotunda
The Doy & Dee Henley Chair and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence
Chapman University
rrotunda(at)chapman(dot)edu
312/377-4000

“Today the Supreme Court has wiped away any illusion that it decides cases strictly based on the Constitution and relevant statutes. The long-standing principle that statutes are decided based on the language in the statute — and that only in case of ambiguity do you allow evidence about intent — has been discarded in favor of a holistic search for what the Congress must have meant or should have meant in clear and unambiguous language. The Supreme Court is now a fully political body doing the bidding of whichever party happens to be in power.”

Paul Fisher
Senior Fellow, Legal Affairs
The Heartland Institute
media(at)heartland(dot)org
312/377-4000

“As Justice Scalia points out in his brilliant, scathing dissent, the U.S. Supreme Court has turned somersaults to ‘defend the indefensible’ and uphold Obamacare at any cost to the rule of law. In deciding that ‘established by the State’ means the same thing as ‘not established by the State,’ it brings to three the number of major provisions it has rewritten to sustain the abomination of Obamacare.

“If Congress made a ‘drafting error’ and really wants taxpayers to have to fund unaffordable premiums in the 34 states that declined to establish an Exchange, it could simply amend the law. It might not, however, want to take responsibility for the damage that people suffer from the mandates tied to those subsidies.

“Congress is the only body with the constitutional authority to legislate, precisely because it is accountable to the people. The executive branch, including the IRS, has usurped that power, as have unaccountable Justices with lifelong tenure.

“Neither Obama nor the Supreme Court can turn back the tide or repeal the laws of economics. They cannot make the unaffordable affordable, nor can they print medical care. They can, however, inflict and prolong a lot of misery, while redistributing costs, pain, and blame.”

Dr. Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Executive Director, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
Policy Advisor, Health Care Policy
The Heartland Institute
janeorientmd(at)gmail(dot)com
312/377-4000

“This case is about the conflict between the rule of law and what amounts to economic central planning. Any massive centralized control of an economic sector requires flexibility – the kind that is in tension with the rule of law, which requires the government to abide by statutes even when they are unwise. It is hard to draft a perfect statute to govern a whole economic sector; mistakes will always be made. But if the president can effectively rewrite legislation to make it better, he has become an all-powerful ruler, and the separation of powers is destroyed.”

Eugene Kontorovich
Professor of Law, Northwestern University
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute
e-kontorovich(at)law.northwestern(dot)edu
312/377-4000

The Heartland Institute is a 31-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our website or call 312/377-4000.

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