WASHINGTON, December 1, 2014 – The Administration has reopened Obamacare enrollment. However Jon Gruber’s recent statements about “stupid Americans” and that the Administration intentionally lied to Americans to get the bill support may negatively affect Obama’s ability to get millions to sign up for a health care program – a program that may be overturned by the Supreme Court.
Because President Obama may have an Obamacare opponent he did not expect: Chief Justice Roberts. When Obamacare went to the High Court in 2012, Roberts, an appointee of George W. Bush, was the deciding vote in a challenge to the law that seeks to eliminate government insurance subsidies to low- and middle-income enrollees in two-thirds of the nation.
Now Obamacare architect Gruber’s revelations combined with growing opposition among Americans for the bill that has made insurance more expensive for many to subsidize to low- and middle-income enrollees in two-thirds of the nation, Roberts may vote against Obamacare when the Supreme Court hears the case King v. Burwell.
At the center of the case is federal tax credits or subsidies for those who signed up via state exchanges. Obama wants to extend those benefits to include people who signed up on the federally run exchange, basically erasing basic state rights to govern themselves.
The administration argues Congress intended to make the subsidies available nationwide and that federal subsidies are legal. The counter argument is that the president and his advisers have no power to unilaterally change a law passed by Congress.
Adding to the debate is that American’s are not signing up and paying for Obamacare insurance in numbers equal to Administration statements. A November report overstated 2014 enrollment by more than 5% – an error discovered by a congressional oversight committee.
Stating that 7.1 million people were enrolled in health care plans as of October, however the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found that about 400,000 of the enrollments were in dental plans only, not medical insurance.
The administration released new numbers saying that as of October 15 approximately 6.7 million people were enrolled in medical coverage plans.
Also plaguing the second enrollment period are reports that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California both violated state laws by overstating the number of doctors accepting Obamacare.
Roberts has exhibited some skepticism towards Obama’s tendency to “overreach” his authority particularly after the most recent executive action to shield millions of immigrants from deportation has enraged Republicans and many Americans.
The Supreme Court also ruled that Obama exceeded his power by making temporary recess appointments during a brief Senate break. They also ruled, by 5-4, that Obama went too far when he challenged Christian businesses to pay for abortifacient drugs that would cause a fertilized egg to abort.
Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito voted to strike down the law entirely in 2012, Roberts voting in assent of the law.
When the case comes up for argument in March, Obama will be hoping that Roberts once again sides with Obamacare. However, the court may not be willing to give the President any sway following what is widely recognized as un-Constitutional amnesty executive actions.