Newsmax Panel: Ruling May Fix Obamacare's Constitutional Issues

Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 04:19 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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A court's potentially fatal blow to the Affordable Care Act may correct constitutional blunders made by President Barack Obama as he endlessly tweaked his signature healthcare law, say former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey and Dr. Jane Orient, director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

"This ruling says [that] in the United States of America, the rule of law is king, not Mr. Obama. His job is to implement the law, not rewrite it,'' McCaughey told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV on Wednesday.

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"[It] kind of reminds you of King John, who before he signed the Magna Carta said, 'The law is in my mouth,'" said Orient, author of "Sapira's Art and Science of Bedside Diagnosis," published by LLW. "[Obama is] interpreting what he thinks it ought to mean or what it should mean or what he can get away with.''

In a 2-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said the Obama administration bent the law too far in extending healthcare subsidies through the HealthCare.gov website.

"What the D.C. circuit said was this, the actual text, the actual words printed in the Affordable Care Act say that only state exchanges can provide subsidies to make the Unaffordable Care Act affordable, by reducing what people have to pay to get one of those plans,'' McCaughey said.

"The letter of the law says only state exchanges can issue those subsidies. Well, it turns out that only 14 states set up state exchanges, so for two-thirds of the nation, those subsides provided to make the Obamacare plans cost less were illegal.

"Eighty-seven percent of people, nearly everybody who bought a plan, got a subsidy, and in general on average the subsidy paid for 76 percent of the plan. So, if you're not eligible for a subsidy, you're going to be paying four times as much next year. It's quadrupling the premium, so there's a lot at stake here.''

Many people will no longer be able to afford healthcare, he said.

"They'll leave these Obamacare plans and you'll have what the insurance industry calls a death spiral, where only the very sick people who can't leave their plan will stay, they're the very costly ones, and everybody else will leave,'' McCaughey said.

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