The Damning Obamacare “Intent”

THE TRUTH ABOUT OBAMACARE’S EXCHANGES IS EXPOSED …  In case you missed it, a big court ruling was issued this month.  No … not that one.  We’re referring to the decision reached by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Halbig V. Burwell . That’s the…


In case you missed it, a big court ruling was issued this month.  No … not that one.  We’re referring to the decision reached by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Halbig V. Burwell .

That’s the case that could conceivably void key provision of U.S. president Barack Obama’s socialized medicine law in thirty-six states – basically dealing the hated law a death blow.

How would it do that?  Simply by interpreting the law.  Obamacare specifically says that subsidies (and the taxes collected from the uninsured that pay for them) apply only in the fourteen states that created their own exchanges.  The Internal Revenue Service is ignoring that part of the law though, attempting to impose the provision on all fifty states.

Nathan Mehrens of Americans for Limited Government tuned us into this issue when he penned this column last November.

“The legal principles involved in Halbig are simple: If Obamacare is to be taken at its word – then the law’s subsidies and penalties do not apply in two-thirds of the country ,” Mehrens wrote.  “And if that’s the case, then Obamacare is a ‘Dead Law Walking’ – incapable of sustaining itself without hundreds of billions of dollars in deficit spending.”

“If they follow the letter of the law they must limit IRS tax collection and Treasury disbursements to those states which established exchanges,” Mehrens continued.  “There is simply no legal authorization to tax and spend beyond that.”

The Court of Appeals agreed with Mehrens – and hopefully the U.S. Supreme Court will do the same.  It better … or else every law ever passed by the U.S. Congress would instantaneously fall under the category of a “suggestion.”

Of course Obamacare defenders are furiously claiming Congress “intended” for the law to apply to everyone – part of the administration’s ongoing efforts to make this law fit with political realities.

And fit with Obama’s promises … 

Are they correct in divining Congressional intent?

Hell no.  In addition to failing to provide a single shred of evidence to prove that Congress intended to apply these subsidies and taxes nationwide, the government is now being forced to confront the reality that Obamacare was written with the expressed purpose of bribing states into participating.

“In the law, it says if the states don’t provide them, the federal backstop will,” former Obama official and Obamacare co-author Jonathan Gruber said in January 2012.  “The federal government has been sort of slow in putting out its backstop, I think partly because they want to sort of squeeze the states to do it. I think 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.”

“I hope 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, and that they’ll do it,” Gruber adds.

The only problem? They didn’t.  Thirty-six states refused the bribe.

This website has opposed Obamacare from the beginning.  We have advocated for its repeal.  We have supported its defunding.  And we have called out those “Republican” politicians who want to have it both ways (ahem, Lindsey Graham and Nikki Haley).

But this ruling is bigger than Obamacare.  It is about whether the laws passed in our nation’s capital are worth the paper they’re printed on.

Related posts


Spy Apps: Balancing Privacy And Practicality


Buster Murdaugh Files Defamation Lawsuit

Callie Lyons

Murdaugh Retrial Hearing: Interview With Bill Young

Will Folks


tomstickler July 29, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Rather late in making this legal argument, seeing as how it has been demolished everywhere in the blogosphere except for the dead-end die-hards grasping at any weak reed.

Let’s just add this to yet another triumph of ideology over logic and reason.

javalava10 July 29, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Google is paying approx 80$ per>>CLICK FINENCIAL REPORT FOR MORE INFO

tomstickler July 29, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Dismal spammer!

Good job! July 29, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I’m actually giving you a “thumbs up” for spamming a statist dick.

Smirks July 29, 2014 at 2:21 pm

“Obamacare will never work! We should just let it fail on its own!”

“Obamacare might actually work! We should sabotage it to make it fail!”

CL July 29, 2014 at 2:38 pm

“seeing as how it has been demolished everywhere in the blogosphere….”

The Halbig court may have to reconsider now that you have cited them to the unassailable legal precedent of the “blogosphere.” That may be the worst appeal to authority I have ever seen.

It is almost to the point of parody with liberals claiming that anyone who claims the law means what it says are putting ideology over reason.

And of course Congress anticipated state resistance – that is why you have to make it painful to resist. To that end, 2 twists of the knife are better than 1. Especially when the full Medicaid threat was always on shaky grounds constitutionally (and has since been declared unconstitutional).

Columbia Insider July 29, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Hmmm, Lawyers, Guns & Money or DC Court of Appeals. Dang, seems like a toss up!

Ha Ha July 29, 2014 at 4:31 pm

My favorite triumph of ideology over logic and reason is when all the politicians passing Obamacare exempted themselves from it, then retracted their exemption after public outcry, only to reinstate it after “the moment”(meaning the public forgot) passed….lol!

Dave Chappelle July 29, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Ah, the convenient short-term memory, again.

RHood2 July 29, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Like SC refused the bribe. And you criticize Haley for expanding Medicare without the bribe and hint that she should therefore have taken the bribe. You’re all over the map on this one, Wil.
And, of course, this isn’t necessarily a death blow, since another federal circuit has upheld the “interpretation” as reasonable and within the law. And when the full panel gets it in the DC Circuit, what will happen. Those who brought this are going to do their level best to get it to the Supreme Court, but it might not happen.

Anon July 29, 2014 at 3:33 pm

This is udder Horse Manuer everyone knows what the goal of this laws was when past to cover as many people as possible and that is what it did through State exchanges and the when States were recalcitrent through Federal exchanges. To focus on the wording od the law is absolutely stupid absurd and rediculos, Everyone knows how fast this bill was put to gether under total Republican resistance and things mite be somewhat half baked and unclear but that could be sorted out later. by Obama with the principals of common sense. There is no way the SCOTUS wuill touch this with a ten foot poll. People need to see it what it is a last grasp attempt by consevatives who lost.

Mike at the Beach July 29, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Is this a real post, or are you “stupid-baiting” us?

Dave Chappelle July 29, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Clearly bait…don’t bite

Mike at the Beach July 29, 2014 at 5:24 pm

My thoughts, precisely, but sometimes on here it’s hard to tell…

Anon July 29, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Im a progressive from CA

SCBlues July 29, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Pay them no mind, Anon – you are right on – so what if you have a few typos!

There are few progressives around these parts – mostly a bunch of stick-in-the-muds as you can see . . .

Uh huh July 29, 2014 at 6:50 pm



idcydm July 29, 2014 at 6:17 pm

“This is udder Horse Manuer everyone knows what the goal of this laws…”

Obviously those that voted for it didn’t know the goal…ask Pelosi, gotta pass it to know what’s in it.

“…total Republican resistance…”…yep, the Dems even locked them out at one point.

Sorry Mike and Dave, couldn’t resist. :)

Anon July 29, 2014 at 6:31 pm

the goal was to get every one free insurance like in all of the other great democracies on the plant. that was the goal, the reason Pelosi said that was because the detales were not that important just that EVERYONE was getting free insurance as a human rite. weather it be through State or Federal exchanges she does not care.

Lloyd Christmas July 29, 2014 at 6:53 pm

I love free shit. It’s my rite.

Tom July 30, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Its your right not your rite. If you have a right to life and health care is essential for life you have a right to health care. Otherwise your right to life is meaningless.

Lloyd Christmas July 30, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Yea, but my rite to life means I have rite to your money if I need it to pay for my cancer surgery. I know what I’m talking about.

Tom July 30, 2014 at 6:56 pm

The right to life is an inalienable right. The right to property is a right created by the Constitution. Since the purpose of government is to secure inalienable rights, government created rights are secondary in nature to inalienable rights. Governments have the right to tax. Governments cannot exist without tax. Governments have the right to use those taxes to pay for things necessary to secure the inalienable rights of the people. This is the core purpose of government, just like defense. The purpose of defense is to secure the inalienable right to liberty.

Under your theory the government has no right to tax you for defense.

Lloyd Christmas July 30, 2014 at 11:14 pm

“Under your theory the government has no right to tax you for defense.”

What do you mean? I never said that. I agree with you, I have a rite to other people’s money when I need health care.

idcydm July 30, 2014 at 2:36 pm

I have a right to bear arms but guns are too expensive, by your perspective the government make sure I have one.

Tom July 30, 2014 at 6:49 pm

While it is true that if you cannot afford a gun, your right to bear arms is meaningless, the right to bear arms is a Constitutional right not an inalienable right. That is an important distinction.

Under our theory of government, the purposes of government is to secure the inalienable rights of the people. I.E. life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To secure those rights we must grant to the citizens certain other rights which, while important are not natural/ inalienable rights. They are rights created by the people. For example property rights and the right to bear arms. The existence of these rights are a necessary part of the government securing the inalienable rights of the people.

idcydm July 30, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Just because you think health care is an inalienable right doesn’t make it so, it is your and many others opinion, if you don’t mind we will agree to disagree.

I do not have a problem with health care reform, just not this form of health care reform, especially the way it is being rolled out by this President.

BTW I still say Anon is a socialist not a progressive, his “free insurance” said it all.

Lloyd Christmas July 30, 2014 at 11:11 pm

If Tom says it’s a rite, it must be! Praise be to Tom.

idcydm July 29, 2014 at 6:58 pm

You’re not a progressive you’re a socialist.

Sandi Morals July 29, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Will called Smirks a socialist. I agree.

Tom July 30, 2014 at 2:05 pm

One does not have to be a socialist to want socialized health insurance. Everyone in this country over the age of 65 already has access to socialized health insurance. Most likely you for instance. Does that make you a socialist? If so, and you do not want to be you should refuse Medicare.

Most progressives believe that ensuring access to reasonable health care is an essential part of the government fulfilling its obligation to secure each citizen’s right to life.

idcydm July 30, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Did you miss Anon’s “free insurance” comment?

Don't hide! Embrace it July 30, 2014 at 6:28 pm

“One does not have to be a socialist to want socialized health insurance.”

lol…yes it does.

Tom July 30, 2014 at 6:39 pm

You need to go back to college. Socialism calls for government ownership of the means of production. No one is proposing that. Calling for certain services to be paid for by the government is not Socialism. Under your theory we are all socialist, because the government pays for roads, the military, the fire department, the police department, etc Conservatives want the government to pay what benefits them. Everything else is Socialism.

I personally think we should all have access to Medicare. It should not be limited to those over 65 and disabled. If you don’t want it you can buy your own insurance. We are the only first world nation that does not guarantee reasonable health care to all of its citizens. As a result we have sub-par health care for a premium price.

In every nation in Europe, Canada and Australia the citizens are happier with their health care than Americans are with their health care. It cost them a lot less per person than we pay and they get better results than we get.

Don't hide! Embrace it July 30, 2014 at 11:08 pm

“Under your theory we are all socialist, because the government pays for
roads, the military, the fire department, the police department, etc”

That’s right. It’s all socialist.

Here’s the ACTUAL definition of socialism:

“a political and economic theory of social organization that
advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange
should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”

If government didn’t REGULATE the means of production, distribution, & exchange, it wouldn’t be able to pay for all of its social programs.

rwwllms July 30, 2014 at 8:16 am

Wow. Are you in kindergarten? Your intelligence and knowledge of English grammar is taking away from your posts. Too much time is wasted trying to decipher them that whatever point you’re trying to make gets lost and forgotten. You will never be taken seriously until you learn to write and spell.

Let me guess – Common Core educated, right?

rwwllms July 30, 2014 at 8:31 am

If I understand this mess correctly you’re saying that we should ignore the official legal wording of the law as written by our country’s lawmakers after months of debate double checking to make sure it was worded properly, and then put through intense inspection of the three branches of government.

Why stop with this law? Let’s just go ahead and ignore the wording of all laws and instead let self-interpretation be the law of the land. Our own personal interpretations of laws supersede anyone else’s.

Going by your spelling skills I’m going to assume that your nom de plume is your abbreviation for anarchy.

tomstickler July 30, 2014 at 8:44 am

Thanks for your faith in the competence of Congress. They need all the help they can get.

Jackie Chiles July 29, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Imagine if Congress did intend for the subsidies to only go to states that created exchanges. The law would be written the exact way it is now. It’s almost as if the courts are asking Congress to write a law and then say “no really, we mean it.”

tomstickler July 29, 2014 at 4:33 pm

If Congress really “did intend for the subsidies to only go to [people living in] states that created exchanges” a reasonable person would think they would not have provided for the creation of federal exchanges in the states.

Really? July 29, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Really? Cause it kind of sounds like a weird form of punishment directed towards those states that don’t create their own. One that only pol types could entertain, to me anyway…kind of like road funds, right?

Jackie Chiles July 29, 2014 at 5:25 pm

No, a reasonable person would assume that the federally created exchanges were a market place to allow people living in other states to purchase policies without subsidies. You know, what the law says.

CL July 29, 2014 at 5:54 pm

See my post above. It has come to light that the initial draft had language specifying that the subsidies would flow to federal exchanges. Obviously, this was changed by the time the law was passed. That would be fairly conclusive on the question of intent in any normal case.

rightisright5116 July 30, 2014 at 6:09 am

Watch this interview. AG Pruitt explains why the law was written as it was


CL July 29, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Once again reality fails to conform to the liberal narrative. First Gruber’s speeches, now it comes out that the initial draft of the bill contained explicit language that subsidies would flow to federally created “gateways” (the precursor to the “exchange” term). In any normal, non-politicized decision, that would be fatal to Obama’s argument on Congress’ intent:


Here is Greg Sargent reporting on the draft issue, but then spectacularly getting it wrong on which side’s argument is undermined by this fact.


tomstickler July 29, 2014 at 9:01 pm Reply
CL July 30, 2014 at 7:38 am

So you are actually citing TNR as more credible than the Washington Post? Has the WaPo been relegated to Faux News status for daring to publish facts that undermine the narrative? Does it help that Sargent did so inadvertently, since he stupidly thought the fact that the removed the federal subsidy language somehow helped the administration’s position?

tomstickler July 30, 2014 at 8:42 am

Some day we will all look back on this with the perspective of history and see who was on the right track.

Your contention that Sargent inadvertently did something stupid undermines the credibility of WaPo, BTW.

My cite of TNR was solely to link to a rebuttal of the stunningly weak argument relied upon by the foes of PPACA.

Except for a statement by Gruber — since recanted — no supporter of PPACA has indicated that the Halbig decision had any basis in the legislative history. None of the enemies of PPACA ever mentioned that those signing up in the federal exchanges were to be denied subsidies, a ridiculous position in light of the mandate.

Sheesh July 30, 2014 at 9:29 am

“Except for a statement by Gruber — since recanted”

Dude, turn off the ideological filter for a moment and ask yourself how anyone could reasonably believe what Gruber recanted:

“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. ”

Are you really that much of an ideological war horse that you would turn off your brain and say, “Ok, take backs are ok.”?

Sheesh July 30, 2014 at 9:31 am

“reasonably believe that Gruber recanted honestly”

CL July 30, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Sargent did something stupid in his zeal to defend Obamacare. He completely misread what the facts about the drafts meant for the respective arguments. Those facts remain the same, and they are devastating to the “don’t read what the statute says, you have to look at its broader intentions” argument of the administration.

Your last paragraph is just ridiculous and full of misinformation. First you seem to misunderstand how courts review legislation. We don’t take polls on what laws meant to the 400+ legislators. We read the statute. The language here is perfectly clear. It is the left that is trying to ignore the plain language (“its a drafting error!” “paying attention to that would subvert the purpose of the law!”) to argue that the language means something other than what it says. First, you do not look at intent regarding unambiguous language.

Second, even if it was a drafting error, that is a problem for the legislature to correct. The President cannot decide to rewrite the law through a regulation. Moreover, that is not the court’s role. Courts are not proofreaders.
The interesting part about Gruber is that it reveals the big lie behind the left’s narrative.* Of course Gruber has disavowed his comments. What else can he do? Say he was lying when he claimed the Halbig argument was nutty and criminal for the past few months? Admit he perjured himself in his amicus brief? If you buy the (multiple) “speak-o” explanation**, then I must question your intelligence or your sanity.

The legislative history raised by Sargent is important only because it shows that Obama should still lose even if the language was ambiguous, which it is not. You falsely say Halbig has no basis in the legislative history. Sargent has unintentionally shown the opposite to be true – that Congress purposefully removed language funding federal exchanges during the drafting process. It is a fundamental canon of statutory construction that a legislature did not intend to adopt language it removed durin the drafting phase (this should just be called the “no duh” rule). So the legislative history completely contradicts the IRS’s power grab.

You also seem to not appreciate the timeline and why it bolsters the Halbig argument. Obamacare passed in 2010, yet the IRS did not adopt the challenged allowing subsidies in federal exchanges until 2012, when it became clear that most states would refuse to set up exchanges. Why wait so long if that was always the plan? Most of the rules were expected to be finalized in 2011.

And obviously the “enemies” of Obamacare did mention this, they filed a lawsuit over it. This issue came up months before the IRS even issued its regulation. Why would a conservative go around yelling about the authority to issue subsidies for federal exchanges before anyone had proposed giving any such authority to the feds?

* It is also hilarious that you say “other than Gruber.” You could not pick a better person for the Halbig plaintiffs. Gruber was the architect of the law. He personally wrote many of the provisions. But if you really need another, Max Baucus appears to be making a similar point here, as explained by the author, although his statements are not 100% clear:


** Never mind that the speak-o also appeared in his prepared remarks in a separate speech. So the liberal position now requires one to accept that Gruber is essentially Ron Burgundy, “For the last time, anything you put on that prompter, Burgundy will read!”

Dave Chappelle July 29, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Sic…You are absolutely correct to report on the Halbig decision. However, it does seem a bit disingenuous to completely ignore the “split circuit” issue that we have here. If history is of any indicator, the SCOTUS will provide the final answer much sooner than later. Rarely does the highest court allow the appellate level to remain split on such important issues.
Until then, It is probably prudent to restrain from any celebrations, regardless to which side of the debate you may reside.

Thomas July 29, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Democrats are so fucking stupid. They dusted off Hillarycare, added a bunch of shit to it by no less that a dozen authors, did not read it, passed it Christmas Eve without a single Republican vote, and had embedded in the legislation no possible way to get around the fact that uninsured individuals will to fork over at least 500.00 an month for insurance compliantly on top of their other bills or have their wages garnished. Too bad Republicans do not have any candidates worthy of the WH as it surely is theirs to lose in 2016

Anon July 29, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Not to frget to mention the 30 million who now have insurance for the first time in there lifes tthat is either free or costs less than a cell pone!

Dave Chappelle July 30, 2014 at 9:49 am

“[C]osts less than a cell p[h]one!”….and that is saying something, especially when some cell phones are free!

Dolph July 29, 2014 at 7:58 pm

“. . . socialized medicine. . .”

I love “socialized” medicine. The only way I can afford health insurance.

Thank you, Barak Obama.


Leave a Comment