IRS Re-Finalizes Regulations Forcing Obamacare Subsidies on Federal Exchanges

Seemingly in response to this letter from Chairmans Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Dave Camp (R-MI) on January 29 to the Treasury and IRS, on February 1, the IRS again finalized the Obamacare subsidy regulations that flagrantly deviate from the statutory authority.  This issue continues to simmer relatively under the radar since I last wrote about it in August. To refresh everyone’s memory, Obamacare’s core redistributionist provisions are its refundable premium tax credits and cost sharing subsidies available for individuals to purchase coverage on state exchanges starting in 2014.  The credits will be available to anyone with annual income under 400% of the federal poverty line who isn’t covered under an employer-sponsored plan.  To put that in perspective, a family of four today earning up to $92,200 per year would be eligible for the credits.

Federal Exchanges Excluded
Here’s the kicker: Obamacare specifically limits these credits and subsidies to individuals who purchase coverage on an exchange established by the state.  Below is the actual, unambiguous provision from PPACA [emphasis added]:

The Case Against Saxby Chambliss


Over the last six years, I’ve been watching Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) very closely. Back in 2008, Chambliss faced a tough challenge in a three-way, finding himself in a runoff against Jim Martin, a liberal Democrat.

Part of the problem was campaign organization. Insider Advantage quoted an unidentified Republican who said that Chambliss and company had the organization of a “bad state House race,” calling it a “embarrassing campaign.” There was also the perception of Chambliss among Georgia Republicans. Insider Advantage again quoted a unidentified Republican who said, “Saxby’s reputation is that he’s spent six years in Washington playing golf. He’s gone on lots of trips. He hasn’t done the down-and-dirty constituent work.”

“Saxby bragged about it his first four years – how much golf he was getting in. It was a real problem and it irked a lot of people,” said the unnamed Republican source. Many Republicans in the state were less than thrilled with Chambliss, who hadn’t been able to endear himself to the state party the way Sen. Johnny Isakson had.

Another issue that hurt Chambliss was that he had lost the support of many fiscal conservatives in Georgia because of his votes that put taxpayers at risk.

White House analyst warned against Solyndra loan


Don’t look now, but the Solyndra scandal is coming back up in the media. The now-defunct, politically-connected green energy company was given a sweetheart $500+ million loan from the Obama Administration back in 2009. By August 2011, Solyndra had filed for bankruptcy, leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions.

Supporters of heavily subsidized green energy projects downplayed cronyism, which runs rampant in the Obama Administration. But new e-mails show that a White House analyst warned that giving taxpayer money Solyndra would be a big mistake (emphasis mine):

As the Obama administration moved last year to bail out Solyndra, the embattled flagship of the president’s initiative to promote alternative energy, a White House budget analyst calculated that millions of taxpayer dollars might be saved by cutting the government’s losses, shuttering the company immediately and selling its assets, according to a congressional investigation.

Even so, senior officials in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget did not discourage the Energy Department from proceeding with its plan to restructure a federal loan to Solyndra — a move that put private investors ahead of taxpayers for repayment if the company closed, the investigation by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee found.

The Craziness of the Auto Bailout

Tonight, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 237-170 to use taxpayers funds for a downpayment on a recovery program for the failing auto industry. Alabama’s US Senator Richard Shelby is leading the opposition to the bailout. Shelby declares that the total cost of the bailout will easily exceed $100 billion. The late Samuel Francis often quipped that the United States has two political parties: the Evil Party and the Stupid Party. Occasionally, you see a true bi-partisan effort and you can count on that bi-partisanship involving both evil and stupidity.

Bush = Hoover 2.0, Part 2 - “Hoover’s Socialism”

But not because of the reasons you may believe
Part I - “The False Claims” - Can be found HERE

Labor Market Intervention

Within a month of the peak of the stock market in September 1929, President Hoover began a campaign of coordination between industry and government that is still seen today. He was under the belief that falling wages would exacerbate the coming recession and that they must be held steady in order to preserve purchasing power.

California Pushing to Cover Illegals Under ObamaCare


“It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition.” ~ Thomas Jefferson, 1785, Letter to Peter Carr


Clearly, Barack Obama was not copied on Jefferson’s letter to Carr. Though politicians have a (usually well-deserved) reputation for obfuscation and prevarication, few have achieved the ability to lie as skillfully and convincingly as Obama. He has a PhD in BS, a Masters in manure spreading; he is Brigadier General of bovine droppings. He is the Saladin of Subterfuge.

Obama, as he was pushing for passage of the laughably-monikered Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., ObamaCare), told quite a few whoppers. He claimed he would not sign a health care reform bill that added one dime to the debt (technically speaking, Obama was right…Obamacare will not add ONE dime to the national debt, but 62 TRILLION dimes).He said if we like our doctor/health insurance, we can keep our doctor/health insurance. Of course, we now know that was a blatant lie, as ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber of MIT openly admitted when he explained in private that they had to lie to the American people about the details of the law because the American people are “too stupid to understand”.

Here we go: Obamacare subsidies challengers have asked the Supreme Court to hear their case

Cross your fingers, folks. The plaintiffs in King v. Burwell, which, like Halbig v. Burwell, deals with the subsidies provided to consumers on the federal Obamacare Exchange, have asked the Supreme Court to hear the their case:

Their lawsuit was dismissed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which ruled that the Obama administration can legally award the subsidies through federally run insurance exchanges — not just those run by the states themselves. The individuals behind King v. Burwell say the subsidies are being improperly awarded through Virginia’s federally run exchange.

Sam Kazman, general counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said the goal is to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible, since millions of Americans obtaining insurance subsidies could be affected. The conservative group is funding the litigation.

“A fast resolution is also vitally important to the states that chose not to set up exchanges, to the employers in those states who face either major compliance costs or huge penalties, and to employees who face possible layoffs or reductions in their work hours as a result of this illegal IRS rule,” Kazman said in a statement Thursday. “Our petition today to the Supreme Court represents the next step in that process.”

Today in Liberty: House authorizes lawsuit against Barack Obama, Rand Paul slams MSNBC host’s distortion of his record

“The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.” — Milton Friedman

— Happy birthday, Milton Friedman: You may have noticed that we’ve featured quotes from Milton Friedman, the famous free market economist and Nobel Prize laureate. He was born on this day in 1912. Words cannot express how much of an impact Friedman had on public policy. He advanced free market capitalism in various areas, especially in school choice. He played a key role in ending the military draft and made some of the compelling arguments against the war on drugs. Celebrate Milton Friedman’s legacy by checking out Capitalism and Freedom and Freedom to Choose: A Personal Statement.

Legislative intent matters: Democrats removed availability of subsidies through the federal exchange before Obamacare was passed

Obamacare supporters are very worried about last week’s decision in Halbig v. Burwell, in which the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the IRS didn’t have the authority to dole out subsidies to consumers who purchased covered on the federal insurance Exchange.

In light of recently discovered January 2012 comments made by Jonathan Gruber, chief architect of the Obamacare, the Obama administration’s allies are trying to spin the legislative history of the law.

Greg Sargent, who writes at the Washington Post’s PlumLine blog, says that language authorizing the federal Exchange was actually in the version of Obamacare that passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, but was taken out when its version was merged with the Senate Finance Committee’s version:

A reconstruction of the process by which that contested phrase got into the law demonstrates two key facts:

1) The first Senate version of the health law to be passed in 2009 — by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — explicitly stated that subsides would go to people on the federally-established exchange. A committee memo describing the bill circulated at the time spelled this out with total clarity.

Obamacare train wreck update: Enrollees who automatically re-enroll could be left with an unwelcome surprise next year

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in June that it would allow consumers to automatically re-enroll in their Obamacare plan for 2015, saying at the time that it would simplify the process for those who were happy with their government-mandated coverage.

Well, as it turns out, that HHS may be setting up millions of Obamacare consumers for a big headache next year:

Automatic renewal was supposed to make the next open-enrollment under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul smooth for consumers.

But unless the administration changes its 2015 approach, “they’re setting people up for large and avoidable premium increases,” said researcher Caroline Pearson, who follows the health law for the market analysis firm Avalere Health.

It could be a new twist on an old public relations headache for the White House: You keep the health plan you like but get billed way more.

Part of this deals with the changes to benchmark plans. As it is right now, the second-lowest cost “silver plan” is the benchmark to which subsidies are tied. Avalere Health recently found that the benchmark silver plan will lose that status in 2015 in six of the nine states it analyzed. The problem is the benchmark plan will change in many areas of the country, meaning that customers will have to pay more to keep their plans.

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