The stupidity of the Affordable Care Act

In response to Jonathan Gruber – ACA and ‘The Stupidity Of The American Voter’:

I see the Left is drenching the Internet in flop sweat as they either search for some mystical “context” that will change the plain meaning of what Gruber said in this clip, or try to erase him from history altogether.  He’s getting the Stalin airbrush treatment right out of the ObamaCare picture.  Having apparently failed to sell his vote to the incoming Republican majority, “independent” Senator Angus King of Maine has taken to pretending he can’t even remember who Gruber is.  He went from the wunderkind of health care reform to some random goofball who just happened to skateboard through the discussion, which begs the question of why he’d be addressing the sort of seminar where he regaled the audience with knee-slappers about how he and the President managed to pull scam after scam on the CBO and gullible American voters.

Besides being outrage-inducing to Americans who hated ObamaCare even before they knew it was a scam, Gruber’s got a lot of brass insulting the stupidity of American voters, because ObamaCare is the dumbest cluck of a bill ever to fall off the turnip truck in the middle of the night and get rammed through Congress in a disgusting orgy of backroom deals.  There are a million things wrong with this bill – it wasn’t even fully written when they passed it – and every fresh catastrophe is dismissed as an unforeseen complication or unexpected side effect.  Nobody who wrote the ACA was able to “foresee” how a single thing about it would work.  They just spent the last six months or so trying to whistle past the Gruber graveyard by claiming all that stuff about state-only subsidies was a typo, and Gruber’s defense of the language was a series of “speak-os.”  This law is dumber than a box of rocks, and about as popular as Ebola… and that’s why we’ve got to shred the Constitution to keep it alive!

I’ve said before that I have a hard time imagining how any honest Justice could rule that the actual language of the Affordable Care Act is less important than what its largely-dethroned authors retrospectively claim they really meant.  The big question will be what happens to the remains of the ACA if those subsidies get struck down.  I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if some variation of Gruber’s subsidy trap snaps shut, bullying the states that have resisted setting up their own exchanges into capitulation, because the residents of those states will flip their lids if they have to pay the full freight for Obama’s overpriced health insurance, while everyone else gets nice fat taxpayer subsidies.  I even wonder if the looming threat of the King v. Burwell decision might spook a state or two into ditching HealthCareDotGov and setting up an exchange before the ruling actually comes down.  It’ll be very big news if that happens.

Michael Barone lays out a more optimistic Transformation of ObamaCare scenario at the Washington Examiner:

It would be easy to rewrite the Obamacare statute to make it say what Democrats say they intended to say but somehow didn’t quite do so. Just change a few words. But Republicans will have majorities in both houses in 2015. If there is demand for making the subsidies available in the 36 states where they would be barred by the Halbig ruling, Republicans might demand something in return. Like a major rewriting of Obamacare.

This could be a nightmare for the Obama administration. Democrats will not want to be blamed for withdrawing subsidies from people in 36 states—particularly since it will be clear that they did this by what can be described as either incompetence or political chicanery. They may be forced into accepting, reluctantly, major changes in Obamacare. Republicans cannot force repeal. But if the Supreme Court early next summer follows standard statutory interpretation, Republicans can get a good start on replace.

It’ll be interesting to see if Democrats are able to weasel out from taking the blame for pushing through a law that self-destructs so spectacularly at the Supreme Court, and whether Republicans go with a plan to radically transform it (which they’ll describe as “repeal and replace,” while Democrats insist it wasn’t a repeal at all) – or if they’ll put Democrats in the position of filibustering or vetoing bills that would replace something the public never liked, as it sets the bank accounts of customers in 36 states on fire.