NYTimes front-page article supports president's ability to change a law unilaterally; intent governs
Here's the headline: "Four words imperil health care law; all a mistake, its writers say." Here's how it starts:
They are only four words in a 900-page law: “established by the state.”Just four little words. Practically irrelevant--trivial, meaningless when you look at the huge size of the whole law.
Four little words. (Like "shall not be infringed," perhaps?) Easy to ignore and deny if you're a Democrat. And wow, do they ever seek to deny 'em.
But it is in the ambiguity of those four words in the Affordable Care Act that opponents found a path to challenge the law, all the way to the Supreme Court.Well of course, if the words are ambiguous any rational person would agree that they mean whatever the Democrats now say they meant when the bill was passed. Cuz, you know, if the Dems actually intended a different effect than they now claim, that would be outright fraud, right? Oh wait, that only applies to those of us who aren't Democrat politicians and bureaucrats.
And about that claim of "ambiguity:" Let's take a look at the whole paragraph they're claiming is ambiguous: In Section 1411 of the ACA--titled "Refundable credit for coverage under a qualified health plan"--we find the "Premium assistance amount"--the subsidy, the "free" part of the act--defined as
"the lesser of...the premiums for one or more qualified health plans offered...within a state...which were enrolled through an Exchange established by the State..."Wait...when one has seen the crucial four words in the sentence where they're used, how in the world can anyone claim they're "ambiguous"?
You can't, of course. The phrasing is not ambiguous in the slightest. So what prompted the Times reporter and editors to lie to you and say it was?
Simple: the Dems don't like the words their people put in their own bill. But rather than admit that not a single congresswhore read the damn thing, and than none had more than a vague idea of what it actually said--let alone what the words *meant*--the entire Democrat establishment immediately pivoted to a new position:
"What do you mean a law must say what it means? Who says so? You're not the boss of us! What matters is what we intended. And the sole authority on that is...us. So, you're just a racis' hater."
Essentially the Democrats are arguing that the actual words in a statute are meaningless. Instead what matters is what those who drafted the language actually meant.
Now, some of you may well counter that such a novel legal theory would wreak havoc with the country, since no one could possibly look at the language of a law and reasonbly guess what it was making either mandatory or illegal. Ah. Well thank you, but now sit down and shut up, because you're obviously not nuanced enough to see how much this approach will streamline Democrat governance. Because in the event that the words in a law don't, you know, actually say what the Democrats meant, they can simply declare a new meaning and that'll fix everything.
Wow! Neat, huh.
How those words became the most contentious part of President Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment has been a mystery. Who wrote them, and why? Were they really intended, as the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell claim, to make the tax subsidies in the law available only in states that established their own health insurance marketplaces, and not in the three dozen states with federal exchanges?Notice a new theory just made its debut: We don't know who wrote the four mysterious, ambiguous words. But we know that Republicans are determined to take this magnificent gift away from the American people. So it's almost certain that the four words were inserted by the Republicans. In the dead of night. Yeh, dat's it.
Unfortunately for the Democrats, a Dem "consultant" named Jon Gruber is on video--twice--saying that the provision was inserted deliberately as an incentive to each of the 57 states [what? No, that's what He said, so it must be right.] to get them to create their own exchanges. Which would have two magnificent effects: First it would reduce the cost and overhead to the feds. And second, it would allow Dems to blame the states for any errors.
But the Times has decided Gruber doesn't exist, and that his tale that the provision that subsidies would only be available to those enrolled in a state exchange is...wrong. Instead here's their explanation:
The answer, from interviews with more than two dozen Democrats and Republicans involved in writing the law, is that the words were a product of shifting politics and a sloppy merging of different versions. Some described the words as “inadvertent,” “inartful” or “a drafting error.” But none supported the contention of the plaintiffs, who are from Virginia.So according to the Times, the crucial, allegedly "ambiguous" words were a product of shifting politics! Wow, talk about blaming the ghost! No better way to shift blame from the people who controlled all three branches of government and refused to even consider a single Republican amendment. Propaganda, pure and simple.
And did the Times reporter really just claim that no Democrat supported the contention that the words mean what they clearly say? Well he didn't say that but he clearly seems to be implying it. The phrase "none supported the contention of the plaintiffs" references the antecedent "Some described...,
which in turn has its own antecedent, "from interviews with more than two dozen Democrats and Republicans involved in writing the law..." Assuming the guy never literally interviewed Gruber--and that readers will find the two antecedents--then he's not technically lying. But...
And of course the first quote after this is from a RINO:
“I don’t ever recall any distinction between federal and state exchanges in terms of the availability of subsidies,” said Olympia J. Snowe, a former Republican senator from Maine who helped write the Finance Committee version of the bill."I don't recall...." Wow, that sounds like a Democrat line. Like, a presidential candidate? Trying to explain why critical law firm billing records missing for two years showed up in her closet in the White House. Or why she supposedly had a string of 50-some consecutive winning trades in...cattle futures?...while her husband was governor of Arkansas. "When did you have time to study futures, that you got so astonishingly good or lucky at trading?" "I don't recall."
Snowe was also extremely helpful in pushing the "inadvertent" theme: The four words, she said, were perhaps “inadvertent language.”
Well, except for Gruber saying they were intentional, sure.
“As far as I know, it escaped everyone’s attention, or it would have been deleted, because it clearly contradicted the main purpose of the legislation,” Mr. Bingaman said. He added, “In all the discussion in the committees and on the floor, I didn’t ever hear anybody suggest that this kind of distinction between federal and state exchanges was in the bill.”
The plaintiffs say the law allows subsidies only where marketplaces have been “established by the state.” It is a distinction that those who drafted the law say they did not intend to make.