Hatch: We Need to Help Those Who Could Lose Obamacare Subsidies in Supreme Court Decision

by Jim Geraghty

Senator Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican and one of the few GOP lawmakers definitely not running for president, is speaking at the Heritage Foundation today about the GOP’s plans on Obamacare and the King vs. Burwell lawsuit before the Supreme Court.

The Affordable Care Act, as written, said that insurance purchasers would be eligible for a tax credit/subsidy if they bought the insurance through a state-established exchange. The Obama administration contends that they always meant to include those who purchased it through the federally run exchange as well; critics contend that the administration can’t just change what the law says because they claim to have included that provision and just forgot or didn’t write the law clearly enough.

From Hatch’s speech:

And that’s what’s ultimately at stake in King: Is the President bound to the law, or can he rewrite or simply ignore provisions he doesn’t like in order to further his political agenda? Advocates of the President’s position would have us believe that statutes are infinitely malleable — up can mean down, right can mean left, established by a state can mean not established by a state. What matters to them is advancing some vague notion of statutory purpose — regardless of what the statute actually says — that coheres with the President’s left-wing agenda.

Those of us on the other side, however, insist that text matters, words matter. What the statute says is what matters, because at the end of the day, the words in our statutes and in our Constitution are what bind our leaders, and what prevent them from doing whatever they want. Fidelity to text is the foundation of the rule of law. Ultimately, I believe the Supreme Court is going to side with us. Assuming that’s the case, the question becomes: What do we do next?

Hatch declares the GOP needs “to help the people who will be hurt by losing their subsidies because of Obamacare’s broken promises. That means providing a reasonable and responsible transition for those who may lose their subsidies while Congress works to repeal and replace Obamacare once and for all.” He says that in the coming days, he will release details on “a short-term solution for those Americans that may be affected by the decision in King. That solution will address immediate concerns and set the stage for a more permanent fix in the future.”

From that, it certainly sounds like the GOP would act to restore the subsidy/tax credit promised by Obamacare, at least for this year.

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