Monday, June 3, 2013

Oklahoma Rings Bell for Round Two on Obamacare

Good news for the 33 states that refused to set up Obamacare state-run exchanges.  Oklahoma and a number of other states have filed a lawsuit contesting the mandate and subsidies of those ran by the federal government.  Carolina Journal reported the following:
“I think the statute clearly does say that the subsidy and the mandate applies to the state-run exchanges and not to the federal exchanges,” Harned said.

While still “very disappointed” that the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against the suit brought by the NFIB and 26 states, Harned said her organization is “trying to repeal the most onerous parts of the bill,” with overall repeal of Obamacare the ultimate goal. That is being pursued through legislative and regulatory processes, not the courts.

The way Obamacare is set up, employers face a penalty, which the Supreme Court deemed a tax, for failing to provide health insurance if someone on their payroll is eligible for Medicaid.

“The subsidies are in effect the trigger point for the employer mandate,” said Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Cato Institute. “If there’s no subsidy, there’s no employer mandate.”

The law as written “says subsidies are only available on a state-run exchange. The Obama administration says this is a typo,” and will collect the tax regardless, Tanner said.

This could be an economic boon for the refusers.  Companies looking to escape the clutches of an overbearing federal government would find refuge in the fabled 33.  These states would be shielded from arbitrary regulations imposed by unelected bureaucrats at the DHHS. The IRS, seeing this legislative error, has already changed the rules, however, they do not have the authority to change the law.

In writing the law, Congress said companies relocating from a state where there are state-run exchanges to a state where there is not would not have to abide by the employer mandate.

“Under the IRS rule, [companies] cannot do that any longer,” Kazman said. “That’s not the sort of thing that the IRS on its own can change.” Taxation is “one of those powers that the framers were very careful about” because it is a formidable control mechanism, so they limited its imposition to Congress, not regulatory agencies, Kazman said.

Another significant concern is “If statutes like Obamacare become the norm, we’re in for a lot of mega-statutes coming out of Congress” whose content nobody will know or understand until well after it’s passed, he said.

 Ths isn't over by a long shot.

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