Posts Tagged ‘Halbig’

The mystery of the misunderstood Obamacare provision: Another take on the Halbig imbroglio

August 7, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 7, 2014

Feature or bug? That’s a crucial debate being contested as a result of the Halbig lawsuit, which is part of the right wing’s War on Obamacare.

Liberal commentators such as Brian Beutler argue that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provision that’s at the heart of the Halbig tussle represents a drafting error, not the intent of the law’s architects. To say otherwise is to dismiss as irrelevant the vast majority of the reportage and analysis that took place as the massive health-care reform bill was being crafted and implemented.

In fact, to adopt the now-popular conservative argument that Obamacare must be have been precisely designed to function exactly and only as it is written is to call into question the integrity of virtually everyone who discussed and wrote about the law as it was crafted, passed and initially launched.

After all, over that period, few if any people mentioned the supposed fact that Obamacare’s drafters intended to bar people who purchased health insurance through online marketplaces or exchanges that were run by the federal government. And the current conservative line is that the provision is a major feature, not a bug, in the health-care reform initiative.

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Did political convenience convince a conservative journalist to re-categorize a bug as a feature? An examination of the Welch–Beutler–Suderman spat

August 6, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 6, 2014

A Twitter feud between left-wing and right-wing pundits caught my eye last week.

The spat was launched by this tweet:

The difference between intellectual honesty () and a hackish attempt at oppo marginalization: ()

— Matt Welch @mleewelch 10:51 AM – 29 Jul 2014

Welch is the editor in chief of Reason, the libertarian magazine produced by the Los Angeles–based Reason Foundation. His tweet praised an article written by Reason senior editor Peter Suderman and published in Reason while panning one written by Brian Beutler, a senior editor at The New Republic, and published in that left-leaning magazine.

The articles promote dueling interpretations of the issue that many people refer to as Halbig. The tag comes from the plaintiff in one of a handful of pending lawsuits that seek to cripple the right’s favorite whipping boy, the Affordable Care Act.

The key to Halbig — beyond, of course, understanding that conservatives are obsessed with (a) opposing anything associated with Obama, especially (b) the health care reform law that is familiar known as Obamacare — is the question of whether one provision in that law means what it appears to say in the narrowest and most literal possible meaning.

This is the position on the right wing. As a result, they assert, buyers in states that did not establish their own online health-insurance marketplaces are ineligible for the tax credits that they were promised. In many cases, these subsidies make the coverage affordable.

Should this argument prevail, it could affect more than 7 million residents in the 36 states that rely on HealthCare.gov. (That’s the federally run website for comparing and purchasing health insurance plans offered by private companies; the site was created for residents of states that declined to create their own online exchanges.)

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