Five on King vs. Burwell

Monday, June 29, 2015

Over the weekend, I encountered several worthwhile pieces of commentary on the aftermath of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the Affordable Care Act, variously also known as ObamaCare and SCOTUScare. I'll list them below with brief commentary:

  • In "Worse Than the Supremes: Obamacare Economics", Larry Kudlow, whose title and first paragraph I disagree with, nevertheless provides some excellent economic data on just how bad for American prosperity this law really is. Here's an example:
    University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan argues that Obamacare disincentives will reduce full-time equivalent workers by about 4 million, principally because it phases out health insurance subsidies as worker income increases. In other words, Obamacare is a tax on full-time work. After taxes, people working part time yield more disposable income than they would working full time.

    Mulligan calculates that both explicit and implicit marginal tax rates within Obamacare may rise to nearly 50 percent, as the law discourages those who attempt to climb the ladder of success. National prosperity and economic growth are again the victims. [bold added]
    Kudlow looks at factors like these and low enrollment numbers and forecasts a taxpayer bailout of the program, as if it isn't already costing us enough.
  • Robert Moffitt of the Heritage Foundation argues that the many problems ObamaCare was supposed to address, and which plague the program, are only going to get worse in, "America's Obamacare Nightmare Is Just Beginning". In rebuttal to Barack Obama's pronouncement that the debate is "over", Moffitt says, "In a free society, debate is over only when the people decide it's over."
  • S. E. Cupp makes the interesting argument that last week's ruling actually helped Republicans, politically. In addition to sparing the GOP the need to decide what to do about millions of people losing insurance subsidies:
    Rhetorically, the ruling did Republicans a tremendous favor as well. Republicans running for president would much rather be able to rail against Obamacare than gloat about the loss of health insurance for as many as 8 million Americans.
    This may be, and I have seen a similar argument made for socially conservative Republicans regarding the gay marriage decision, which allows them to say things like, "I am personally opposed, but it's the law of the land." Not having to speak about issues may help Republicans get elected, but a lack of discussion will not aid the cause of liberty. That said, a lack of an undeserved angry backlash against Republicans for a Democrat-created problem could be a fortunate accident.
  • George Will considers the dire implications of the ruling for separation of powers in "Constitutional Overthrow: Roberts' Damaging Obamacare Ruling":
    The most durable damage from Thursday's decision is not the perpetuation of the ACA, which can be undone by what created it -- legislative action. The paramount injury is the court's embrace of a duty to ratify and even facilitate lawless discretion exercised by administrative agencies and the executive branch generally.
    Will concludes that the court has, along with other damage, injured itself with the ruling.
  • Last, but not least, I think the title of a recent post by Amy Peikoff best summarizes the stark contradiction between the Court's biggest two rulings last week: "Homosexuals Can Marry, But Still Can't Control Their Own Healthcare".
The good and bad news is that the incorrect decision, on ObamaCare, will be far easier to correct. The bad news is that it will be up to the Republicans, at least in the near term, to correct it.

-- CAV


Today:  Deleted last sentence.


Vigilis said...

Gus, re: Barack Obama's pronouncement that the debate is "over", Moffitt says, "In a free society, debate is over only when the people decide it's over."

The globalists, like George Soros who has supported (in an opportunistic, bipartisan fashion) the president's transformative agenda for the U.S., may have an agenda that marginalizes a "free society". Other than that, Moffitt's reminds us of a right too often neglected, being emblazoned in mainstream headlines only in connection with the fury of riotous mobs and unruly thugs.

How dare any U.S. president have directed such an inane pronouncement at more rational taxpayers who habitually work for a living.

Gus Van Horn said...


I share your indignity, but would replace "habitually" with "virtuously" to recognize where the good habits come from.