• Quote: Chief Justice Roberts owns Obamacare

    There’s a sense in which Chief Justice John Roberts “owns” Obamacare, since he was the swing vote that ruled it constitutional last year. Given this, how likely is it that a mere year or two later, he’ll be willing to cast a vote that cripples the law? Sure, this time around the legal case is different, but it still boils down to the same basic question: will the law go forward? Having already ruled once that it can, I’m not sure he’ll be open to letting opponents take a second bite at the same apple. Stripped to its core, conservative lawyers are pressuring Roberts to admit that he was wrong in 2012, and I’m not sure he’ll be willing to cave in to that pressure.

    Kevin Drum, Mother Jones. As with all “quote” posts, the original is worth reading in full.


    • The subsidy/employer penalty cases are about different interpretations of the Administrative Procedure Act. There are no major constitutional issues in the case. It’s no more than whether a federal agency has overstepped the boundaries of what it is allowed to do under the act.

      I call them “subsidy/employer penalty” cases because they are not merely about whether the subsidy should be provided. Whenever a subsidy is provided to an employee of a firm who does not provide both “essential and affordable benefits”, then the firm must pay a penalty. The subsidy to the employee triggers the penalty to the firm. Conversely, no subsidy means no penalty.

      The way the narrative is framed in the media is mean old Red State Republicans want to deny subsidies to the needy. Yes and no. Red State Republicans are also protecting a presumably responsible employer from an onerous penalty that can be triggered by a single employee whose financial situation changes making him or her suddenly eligible for a subsidy.

    • What is this silliness about caving in? Roberts has an appointment for life. Is someone going to make the claim he caved in when he made his prior decision? One may or may not agree with Roberts, one may love or hate Roberts, but it is only silliness to suggest that he caves into one side or the other.