This morning’s Greensboro News & Record makes some sound points in assessing the split in the federal courts over the Affordable Care Act and the availability of subsidies in states without state-based exchanges.
While the editorial (which is entitled “Save the subsidies”) acknowledges the ambiguity of some of the language in the statute, it also rightfully calls for judges and lawmakers to apply common sense in interpreting and applying it.
As it notes:
“Yet, it [the inartfully crafted statute] could be fixed easily. Congress could pass a technical correction, making plain its original intent that subsidies should be made available across the country. Republicans won’t agree to that, preferring to see the program collapse.
North Carolina could provide a remedy for its residents, creating a state exchange and allowing them to sign up again for coverage. Our state’s Republicans won’t do that, for the same reason. They would rather stick to their opposition, even if more than 300,000 residents lose their medical coverage. It’s all about politics.
For now, after Tuesday’s contradictory rulings, the legal question is still open. Politics seems to influence the courts as well. The three judges on the Richmond panel were appointed by Democratic presidents. The two who produced the majority opinion in Washington were nominated by Republican presidents. If the full D.C. court hears the case on appeal, a reversal is expected because most of the court’s judges are Democratic appointees.
It would be refreshing to see a ruling made on the legal merits of a case, rather than politics.
Also helpful would be consideration for what’s really best for the public. The ACA intends to improve access to medical care. Whether the enrollment mechanism is a federal or state exchange shouldn’t matter, and judges should apply common sense to their final decision.
Read the entire editorial by clicking here.