The Hobby Lobby decision generated a lot of attention, but the real threat to ObamaCare is more likely to come from decisions like the one made today by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the Halbig case.
Michael Cannon, a health care expert with the Cato Institute, has done extensive reporting on Halbig and its potential impact on ObamaCare. Just yesterday, he summarized the case, saying that it:
(C)halleng(es) the legality of the health-insurance subsidies the IRS is dispensing in the 36 states that did not establish a health-insurance Exchange under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or “ObamaCare,” and thus have Exchanges established by the federal government. Though the PPACA repeatedly states those subsidies are available only “through an Exchange established by the State,” and there are indications IRS officials knew they did not have the authority to issue subsidies through federal Exchanges, the IRS is dispensing billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies through federal Exchanges anyway.
More from Cannon on the case here.
In other words, the Courts could offer yet another rebuke to the Obama Administration which has repeatedly ignored or reinterpreted laws passed by Congress in ways that benefit its own agenda. Obama can argue whatever way he wants about what Congress “intended” to write into the law, but what really matters is what the law actually says, as written.
I’m no expert on the Supreme Court, but it seems unlikely that The Court will overturn this decision which is based on clear and unambiguous language. This is good news if you share the view that ObamaCare takes US health care down the wrong path towards big-government command-and-control policiesd and further away from market-based solutions.
As Cannon notes, Large numbers of New Mexicans (more than 94,000 to be exact) could be exempted from the individual mandate in the event that Halbig is upheld or is not appealed: