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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Endless Assault on Health Care Reform

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The opponents of the Affordable Care Act make no secret of their consuming hatred for the law that has already provided health care to millions of lower-income people.
From the beginning, they have tried everything they could to kill it. As one conservative scholar, Michael Greve, said in 2010: “I do not care how this is done, whether it’s dismembered, whether we drive a stake through its heart, whether we tar and feather it and drive it out of town, whether we strangle it.” Yet the challengers keep losing in Congress and in court.
The latest jerry-built effort to destroy health care reform could be defeated in the full federal appeals court in the District of Columbia. In July, a three-judge panel of that court — taking a ridiculously crabbed view of a section in the law — ruled 2-to-1 that tax-credit subsidies are allowed only for those buying insurance on a health exchange “established by the state.” Therefore, it said, no subsidies for people in 36 states where the federal government set up the exchange because the states refused to do so.
There is no evidence that Congress intended to make this distinction, which defies the law’s central purpose. In fact, this argument was rejected unanimously by a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Virginia.
Now the fight has shifted to an arcane legal debate over whether the full appeals court in the District of Columbia should rehear the case or allow it to be appealed...
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