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Lawsuits that Could Make the Decrepit HealthCare.Gov Look Like a Hiccup
Townhall.com ^ | November 3, 2013 | Michael F. Cannon

Posted on 11/03/2013 9:40:05 AM PST by Kaslin

Last week, I discussed the importance of generating additional legal challenges to the IRS’s attempt to tax, borrow, and spend $700 billion, under the rubric of ObamaCare, yet contrary to the clear language of the statute and Congress’ intent. Four lawsuits have already been filed to challenge those illegal taxes and spending. The plaintiffs include two attorneys general, more than a dozen school districts, three private employers and eight individual taxpayers. A ruling for any of these plaintiffs would make the problems with ObamaCare’s decrepit HealthCare.gov web site look like a hiccup.

Last week, there was activity in one of those cases, Halbig v. Sebelius. Tomorrow, there will be hearing on another, King v. Sebelius.

Background

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act directs states to establish health insurance “exchanges,” directs the federal government to establish Exchanges in states that do not, and offers subsidies to certain taxpayers who enroll in qualified health plans “through an Exchange established by the State.” (The subsidies are technically tax credits, though they are tax reduction in name only.) The mere availability of those subsidies triggers penalties against individuals under the law’s individual mandate, while the issuance of such subsidies triggers penalties against employers under its employer mandate. In a final rule purporting to implement the law’s tax-credit rules, the IRS announced it would issue subsidies in all states, even the 34 states that do not have “an Exchange established by the State.”

“Legal challenges to the IRS’s attempt to tax, borrow, and spend $700 billion, under the rubric of ObamaCare.”

Jonathan Adler and I explained the problems with that rule in our law-journal article, “Taxation Without Representation: The Illegal IRS Rule to Expand Tax Credits Under the PPACA.” This Cato Institute study offers a layman’s version of the arguments.

In Halbig v. Sebelius, three private employers and four individual taxpayers have challenged that IRS rule in a federal court in Washington, DC. All seven plaintiffs are located in states that have opted not to establish an Exchange. They allege the IRS’s decision to offer unauthorized subsidies in their states will subject them to financial penalties that Congress did not authorize and force them to take costly steps to avoid those penalties.

Notes on Halbig Oral Arguments

Last Monday, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman heard oral arguments on the government’s motion to dismiss Halbig, and the plaintiff’s request that the court issue a preliminary injunction against the IRS rule. Here are a few items of interest from my notes.

At the end of Monday’s hearing, Friedman asked the parties to reconvene the very next day, when he issued an oral opinion denying both the government’s motion to dismiss the case, and the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.

Court’s Ruling Rebuffs the IRS and Its Defenders

Friedman’s denial of the government’s motion to dismiss was a serious blow to the IRS and its defenders. It was the second time a federal court has held that a plaintiff has standing to challenge the IRS rule. The first came in August, when a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled against the government’s motion to dismiss that state’s challenge to the IRS rule in Pruitt v. Sebelius. Friedman found that plaintiff David Klemencic likewise had standing. Both courts rejected the litanies of arguments the government offered, such as that the plaintiffs’ alleged injury was too speculative and not ripe for adjudication.

These dual rulings dealt a further blow to the credibility of the IRS’s defenders. The agency’s earliest and most ardent defender is a law professor at Washington & Lee University named Timothy Jost, who was influential in the drafting of the PPACA and has been influential in its implementation. He even attended the signing ceremony along with, in his words, “secretaries and congress people and various other leaders who had worked on the bill.”

In 2010, when 18 state attorneys general first challenged the PPACA’s mandate that states expand their Medicaid programs, Jost dismissed their legal claims as being so “devoid of legal authority” that the attorneys general should be sanctioned under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and be held personally liable for the government’s defense costs. As we all know, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 for the attorneys general on their Medicaid challenge.

In 2011, when critics first noted the IRS’s tax-credit rule was illegal, Jost admitted that the statute plainly restricts tax credits to states that establish Exchanges, but later backtracked and changed his story.

Jost also dismissed the critics’ reading of the statute as absurd by claiming there was “no coherent policy reason” for restricting subsidies to state-established Exchanges. Only later did we learn that Jost himself had offered the rationale for this feature of the law in early 2009.

Finally, in 2011, both Jost and George Washington University law professor Sara Rosenbaum confidently claimed that no one would have standing to mount a legal challenge to the IRS’s attempt to issue subsidies through federal Exchanges. Jost later backtracked to say that only employers would have standing.

The courts proved both professors wrong. The federal court in Oklahoma showed they were wrong on employer standing, while Judge Friedman has shown they were wrong on individual taxpayers having standing.

Halbig Proceeds to the Merits

Though Friedman denied the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, which would have immediately blocked the IRS rule, he acknowledged the issue is “of some urgency to both sides” and announced, “I want to do it quickly.” Attorneys for both sides agreed to make all motions and file all relevant briefs in November. Friedman will hear oral arguments on December 3, and will enter final judgment by February 15 – though he certainly could (and ideally would) rule before the IRS begins dispensing the disputed funds on January 1.

Friedman did not tip his hand on the merits of the case, but here’s what he had to say (according to a transcript of his oral opinion that’s not yet available online):

So, what about success on the merits? Even if I assume that there — even if there were some threat of irreparable harm to Mr. Klemencic, what about the merits? If the sliding scale analysis still applies, the plaintiffs would have to show, since I’ve said I didn’t find any irreparable harm, a particularly strong likelihood of success on the merits. And I don’t think the plaintiffs have made that showing. And let me be very clear what I’m saying here because this is important to you and to the world at large.

The plaintiffs make a very good argument. We spent a lot of time on this yesterday. That the words in the statute, an Exchange, quote, established by a state, should be construed literally and that federal Exchanges are not established by a state. The defendants have a good argument, too, at least a credible argument, that when you view this in the context of the entire statute and the overall scheme of things, and when you apply Chevron to the regulation, that they’re likely to win on the merits…

So, all I’m saying is that if, on preliminary injunction, in a case where I find no irreparable harm, the plaintiffs have the burden of showing a particularly strong likelihood of success on the merits, I don’t think they’ve done that. They have made an argument that may ultimately be successful. The defendants have made an argument that may ultimately be successful. And as I delve further into the statute, with the assistance of additional briefing by the parties, the strength of each party’s position will become clearer.

(Emphasis added, based on my recollection.)

Oral Arguments in King Tomorrow

A federal court in Richmond will hear oral arguments tomorrow in a similar case. In King v. Sebelius, four individual taxpayers are challenging the IRS rule and have requested a preliminary injunction. Tomorrow, the court will hear arguments on that motion. Again, if granted, an injunction could stop the IRS from issuing subsidies in the 34 states with federal Exchanges.

For more, have a look at this Los Angeles Times article on the lawsuits.

And keep checking back here for more updates.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Front Page News; Government
KEYWORDS: abortion; deathpanels; obamacare; zerocare

1 posted on 11/03/2013 9:40:05 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

This will only escalate implementation of Single Payer (although I’m not sure SCROTUS would rule that Constitutional), because people being kicked off their health care plans is not going to be reversed.


2 posted on 11/03/2013 9:44:32 AM PST by CivilWarBrewing
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To: Kaslin

The flat stone is nicely skipping over the water while the crowd is watching. Eventually, it will sink in!


3 posted on 11/03/2013 9:48:55 AM PST by SIRTRIS
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To: Kaslin

If they think there will be lawsuits from private employers and individual taxpayers, wait until doctors try to actually get paid for services rendered under the unAffordable Don’t Care Act.

The train wreck signup data has to match the doctors invoices identifying individual patients.

Yeahhhhh...

.
.


4 posted on 11/03/2013 9:49:10 AM PST by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: CivilWarBrewing

I’m still trying to figure out the feds can regulate an insurance company who sells a product only in, say, Texas. How do the feds have authority to tell them what kind of product they can sell when there is no interstate commerce involved?


5 posted on 11/03/2013 9:50:02 AM PST by JediJones (The #1 Must-see Filibuster of the Year: TEXAS TED AND THE CONSERVATIVE CRUZ-ADE)
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To: JediJones

They can’t.. Insurance companies are to weak kneed to fight it.


6 posted on 11/03/2013 10:02:47 AM PST by cableguymn (The founding fathers would be shooting by now..)
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To: TLI

I’ve been saying since the failed website rollout that the lawsuits will be what eventually derails 0zer0care. Now that the law is in place, everyone that is fined/taxed and couldn’t sign up on the website because of the failure of the govt to provide a working website will now have standing to sue because they can prove real harm courtesy of the IRS fine/tax. This could be millions of people that have lost private coverage due to 0zer0care and are being forced onto the non-working govt exchange. The ambulance chasing lawyers have got be drooling at all the class action lawsuits that are coming. The iron is too rich. Lawyers are one of the biggest backers of the dumbcrats, and it will be those same lawyers that are going to be their biggest problem with 0zer0care.
Plus you are correct when you talk about doctors not getting paid. That is the other shoe that is going to drop. Those people lucky enough to sign up for 0zer0care on the glitchy exchanges are going to find that their policies are probably so garbled that no one knows what they are covered for. So when the provider tries to collect from the insurance company, there is going to be all kinds of errors and finger pointing. You can pretty much assume that the insurance companies realize that this whole clusterfark is going to COST them money, not make them money. They will be in line with doctors/providers and the public in starting their own lawsuits. 0zer0care is a lawyers wet dream and a nightmare for everyone else, especially the dumbcrats.


7 posted on 11/03/2013 10:04:38 AM PST by SDShack (0zer0care = "The Final Solution" - Socialized Euthanasia Healthcare)
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To: CivilWarBrewing

Day by day I am starting to hold out hope that America is not over

Ie. more people voting who take and don’t work and voting D forever with 50+ %. Greece.

But a funny thing happened on the way to amnesty and single payer

They coddled together a wish list of guvmint care dating back through Hildebeest in 1993 and (hiccup) dead Kennedy from way back.

And somehow got it passed with no R votes.

And put it off past elections.

Roberts called it a tax and sent it back

And now- the implementation

EVERY body is concerned about health

Their clumsy attempt to take over is exposing who these people really are
To THEIR core constituencies
Labor .
loyal morons
. Regular housewives who buy the caring for the poor crap.
Rich folks here in CA
Kids who know nothing

I mean this thing the PPACA. Is sooooooo bad. Soooo poorly run

It just may chink that armor of ignorance and deceit that has been so carefully advanced by the media for a half century or more

Given the stupidity of elected democrats. And their stubbornness

We could be in for the long haul here of a huge stick to pound relentlessly them with

Hearing Obummer say over and over you can keep.

It’s stunning

Still. I sometimes wonder if anything can end the spell folks who vote D are under

Only the guvmint actually killing them might be it


8 posted on 11/03/2013 10:12:46 AM PST by Truthoverpower (The guvmint you get is the guvmint you deserve)
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To: FReepers

Click The Pic To Donate

Support FR, Donate Monthly If You Can

9 posted on 11/03/2013 10:16:56 AM PST by DJ MacWoW (The Fed Gov is not one ring to rule them all)
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To: CivilWarBrewing

In spite of Rush’s repeatedly loud warnings, I see no basis in the current law for a single payer system.

The congress must legislate a single payer


10 posted on 11/03/2013 10:22:31 AM PST by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Travon... Felony assault and battery hate crime)
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To: Kaslin
Insurance companies are regulated with the states they offer policies. With the heavy hand of the federal government now forcing insurance companies to offer only "qualifying plans" how does that affect state regulations about financial reserves, consumer disclosures etc.?

Obamacare was FUBAR from its very conception and it is painfully obvious that no member of Congress voting for this 3,000 page monstrosity ever read the bill let alone had any debate about its contents.

11 posted on 11/03/2013 10:31:27 AM PST by The Great RJ
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To: SDShack
0zer0care is a lawyers wet dream and a nightmare for everyone else, especially the dumbcrats.

There cannot be enough lawsuits against Obamacare, IMO.

12 posted on 11/03/2013 10:35:26 AM PST by VRW Conspirator (Obama is a proven liar.)
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To: CivilWarBrewing

What if the opposite happens. What if the people accidentally wake up and reject any further attempts from government to fix this any further. I must be delusional. That will never happen in the real world even though it should. It’s become too easy for many to rely on others for their basic needs.


13 posted on 11/03/2013 10:39:49 AM PST by Dutch Boy
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To: cableguymn

Under SCOTUS Commerce Clause jurisprudence going back to the thirties, if you fart in Colorado the Fed can regulate what you eat and mandate anti-flatulence meds on the theory that the sweet smell of your gas could drift over into Kansas, requiring some farmer to pause in his combining to roll up the windows. This could impact how much corn he harvests that day and thus prices on the corn market.

Basically, the enumerated powers provision of our Constitution, and the ninth and tenth amendment’s in the Bill of Rights, have been interpreted out of existence. And even if perchance some errant federal judge were to rule that your farting in Colorado had insufficient effect on interstate commerce to survive a tenth amendment challenge, Congress now knows that according to Chief Justice Robert’s preposterous pretzel-twisting logic, all it has to do to have any legislation whatsoever survive constitutional challenge is impose a penalty on the behavior it disfavors and call the penalty a tax - although Roberts would undoubtedly be willing to rewrite the law to make the penalty a tax, as he did with ObamaCare.

Face it. Under SCOTUS jurisprudence, the federal government can do anything it damn well pleases. You might as well throw away your copy of the Constitution. It’s a meaningless document today, and has been since the 1930’s.


14 posted on 11/03/2013 11:37:13 AM PST by Spartan79 (I view great cities as pestilential to the morals, the health, and the liberties of man.)
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To: Spartan79

“feds”, not “Fed”. Autocorrect got me again.


15 posted on 11/03/2013 11:39:31 AM PST by Spartan79 (I view great cities as pestilential to the morals, the health, and the liberties of man.)
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To: SDShack
I see it the way you do. People are going to die. There are going to be horrible stories from people who've had their insurance for decades, it got cancelled, and they couldn't sign up for a government policy for some reason....the site didn't work, too expensive,.... Or what if the new doctor in the exchange misses something they should not have?

And what about people moving from one state to another? Doesn't that mean new insurance? What if they move a few times a year? etc,etc

16 posted on 11/03/2013 11:45:36 AM PST by grania
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To: VRW Conspirator
There cannot be enough lawsuits against Obamacare, IMO.

I agree.
17 posted on 11/03/2013 12:31:47 PM PST by Signalman
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To: bert
In spite of Rush’s repeatedly loud warnings, I see no basis in the current law for a single payer system.

The congress must legislate a single payer

I think the theory is that after “the insurance companies screw everyone by dropping millions of policies” (not that Obama gives them any choice in the matter), there will be an undeniable emergency. And Congress won’t be able to allow it to continue - and the only way out for the people is to be for the Congress to pass “single” (i.e., monopoly) “payer” (i.e., tune-caller).

18 posted on 11/03/2013 12:32:11 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (“Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: JediJones
How do the feds have authority to tell them what kind of product they can sell when there is no interstate commerce involved?

Heh. First they use the power of the interstate commerce clause to prevent insurance companies from engaging in interstate commerce (i.e., selling across state lines). Then, they use the interstate commerce clause to regulate the strictly intrastate activities of insurance companies.

It's mind blowing. But, they've been doing it for years, as long as they claim that the intrastate commerce has some kind of affect on interstate commerce.

Started with Wickard v Filburn, and then was affirmed in Gonzalez v Raisch by none other than the strict constructionist, Antonin Scalia.

They've been doing it to intrastate production of marijuana for years, I hate to think people are surprised that it's applied to other things (light bulbs, toilets, etc.).

Congress may regulate noneconomic intrastate activities only where the failure to do so “could … undercut” its regulation of interstate commerce. ... This is not a power that threatens to obliterate the line between “what is truly national and what is truly local.

Scalia said that.
19 posted on 11/03/2013 12:42:28 PM PST by andyk (I have sworn...eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.)
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To: Kaslin

If Roberts could rule that 0-care is a tax, he could also find the the US government is a state. The other leftist bozos will have no problem ruling that the US government is a state because it is a state according to the UN and the UN has supremacy over the US.


20 posted on 11/03/2013 1:23:55 PM PST by grumpygresh (Democrats delenda est. New US economy: Fascism on top, Socialism on the bottom.)
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To: bert
In spite of Rush’s repeatedly loud warnings, I see no basis in the current law for a single payer system.

The congress must legislate a single payer

The 2014 elections are of supreme importance. The rats will try every dirty trick there is. And who do we have to fight them? The IRS tried to take out the Tea Party (can you believe how bad this is???) and the GOPe doesn't care. It's up to us.

21 posted on 11/03/2013 3:07:38 PM PST by Aria ( 2008 & 2012 weren't elections - they were coup d'etats.)
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To: CivilWarBrewing

The answer is your handle.


22 posted on 11/03/2013 3:13:38 PM PST by ExTexasRedhead
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To: Aria

If the treacherous tyrants prevail, they will lose...... for ever


23 posted on 11/03/2013 4:11:46 PM PST by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Travon... Felony assault and battery hate crime)
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To: andyk
There's a well established line of cases standing for the proposition that the use of the "instrumentalities" of Interstate Commerce subjects one to the ICC. I can't think of any company in this day and age that goes not utilize those instrumentalities - they include just about every means of communication employed in the contemporary world. The ICC has been expanded to the point that it has become a license for the feds to regulate any enterprise they want to get their hooks into.



America demands Justice for the Fallen of Benghazi!

Eagles Up! Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. (Isaiah 49:1 KJV)

24 posted on 11/03/2013 4:47:58 PM PST by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN - 3/5 Marines RVN 1969 - St. Michael the Archangel defend us in Battle!)
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To: Aria

“When they came for the Tea Party, I did not care because I was not a member”......


25 posted on 11/03/2013 6:33:41 PM PST by goodtomato (I'm really, really blessed!)
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To: bert
I see no basis in the current law for a single payer system. The congress must legislate a single payer

Exactly. My prediction is that Obamacare will cause so much strife, suffering, and economic dislocation, that Congress' credibility will be so utterly low that they won't be able to pass such legislation.

In the end, the American people are going to demand that Obamacare be ripped out by its roots and cast into the fire.

26 posted on 11/03/2013 7:44:48 PM PST by Windflier (To anger a conservative, tell him a lie. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.)
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To: bert
If the treacherous tyrants prevail, they will lose...... for ever

No they won't, because nobody is going to do anything. Why bury them, because when it reaches that point, is exactly the time you're going to need them in hand.

27 posted on 11/03/2013 11:17:17 PM PST by wastedyears (Ender's Game in theaters Nov. 1st)
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To: Kaslin

bttt


28 posted on 11/04/2013 2:06:40 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: bert
The congress must legislate a single payer...

Which is the agenda, spoken or not, of the push to move the House and Senate deep into the hands and power of the Demon Rat party in 2014.

29 posted on 11/04/2013 2:08:29 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: andyk

That is certainly the precedent. Scalia and Thomas regularly ridicule extensions of that in dissenting rulings.


30 posted on 11/04/2013 5:14:08 AM PST by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: The Great RJ

Its very length is proof to any logical person that there was never any intent for it to succeed as advertised. All one need know is that the government intends to reform health care and you know that the results will be disastrous REGARDLESS of intent. To know the length of the bill is to know that no human could possibly read, understand and retain the meaning of all that without years of study and even then most people lack the capacity to understand it even if such a thing could be written in a coherent manner which is impossible at that length. Then when you have legislators admitting they don’t know what is in it yet they vote for it anyway and the speaker of the house makes the astounding statement that it must be passed before you can find out what is in it it becomes blatantly obvious that there was NEVER any benign intent behind this absurd monstrosity. The thing that is so maddeningly frustrating to me is that so many voters still cannot seem to grasp the evil intent behind this assualt on human dignity.


31 posted on 11/04/2013 5:25:18 AM PST by RipSawyer (The TREE currently falling on you actually IS worse than a Bush.)
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To: cableguymn
"They can’t.. Insurance companies are to weak kneed to fight it."

Oh contrare. The Insurance companies stand to make trillions of dollars in the final cut. They're obombacare's biggest proponents. Pretending like they are victims and "only doing what the law says" they "have to do" keeps them shielded from any examination that will shed light on this truth. There is a lot of blood on the insurance companies hands and they love it. They are orgasmic with the reality that every single person in America now HAS TO buy insurance. They are also excited that they will now no longer have as many, if any, insurance agents they will have to share the booty with and... obombacare's exchanges will help to insure that smaller, less established insurance companies cannot compete. Ever belong to a Union? These exchanges are set up the same way. It's a good'ol boy network. If "we" like you you can join. If we don't... take a hike.

No... the antichrist (aka - barack o bamah) knows exactly what he is doing and who to align with.

32 posted on 11/04/2013 7:20:48 AM PST by Whats-wrong-with-the-truth
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To: Whats-wrong-with-the-truth
They are orgasmic with the reality that every single person in America now HAS TO buy insurance.

... or the government will buy it for them, from said companies. Same thing as far as they are concerned.

33 posted on 11/04/2013 10:31:37 AM PST by Pearls Before Swine
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To: TLI

Republicans really are in the stupid party. All they have to do is start pointing out this is not about affordable care. It’s about affordable insurance. And it even failed on that issue.


34 posted on 11/04/2013 1:53:05 PM PST by VerySadAmerican (".....Barrack, and the horse Mohammed rode in on.")
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To: TLI

People who have nothing to lose will eventually lose it, expect to see politicians suffer for voting for this law.


35 posted on 11/04/2013 10:01:04 PM PST by Hoosier-Daddy ( "It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.")
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To: wastedyears

I expect some people whose hearts are utterly broken over the loss of someone they love as a result of Obamacare will reach out and touch someone in the power structure.

When people have nothing to lose, they lose it.

I’m guessing that’s what they are counting on.

129 million losing their health might not turn out as expected, though.


36 posted on 11/04/2013 10:09:41 PM PST by Hoosier-Daddy ( "It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.")
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To: Hoosier-Daddy

To them, that’s a lot less people to worry about and less mouths to feed.


37 posted on 11/04/2013 10:14:53 PM PST by wastedyears (Ender's Game in theaters Nov. 1st)
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To: JediJones

“How do the feds have authority to tell them what kind of product they can sell when there is no interstate commerce involved?”

How ‘bout “Authoritay Uber Alles”?


38 posted on 11/05/2013 7:41:31 AM PST by GladesGuru (Islam Delenda Est - Because of what Islam is and because of what Muslims do.)
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To: CivilWarBrewing

I don’t think that “single payer” is inevitable. The GOP has outright control of a 26 of the states. Dems only have 19. The final five are mixed.

http://www.multistate.com/state-resources/governors-legislatures

Health care is by and large a local phenomenon - licensing of medical practitioners, siting of hospitals and facilities, etc. Therefore costs are mostly a local phenomenon. These states can do a lot to undermine federal control and lower costs to their residents.

Also, if we have “sanctuary” cities for illegals, why not sanctuary states for health care providers and their patients?


39 posted on 11/05/2013 10:23:02 AM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: bert

If ‘Single Payer’ goes to SCROTUS, it might die there even with Roberts.


40 posted on 11/05/2013 10:32:03 AM PST by CivilWarBrewing
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