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The Halbig Subpoena. Oh, the Fright!

Last week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform subpoenaed documents from the Treasury Department and IRS that could have a huge impact on Pruitt v. BurwellHalbig v. BurwellKing v. Burwell, and Indiana v. IRS – four lawsuits that could have a huge impact on ObamaCare.

Those cases challenge the federal government’s ability to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s major taxing and spending provisions in the 36 states that failed to establish a health insurance “Exchange.” The federal government established fallback Exchanges within those states, but the PPACA says the IRS can implementthe law’s Exchange subsidies, employer mandate, and (to a large extent) its individual mandate only “through an Exchange established by the State.” Nevertheless, the IRS issued a regulation implementing those taxes and expenditures in states with federal Exchanges anyway. That regulation that is being challenged as illegal by taxpayers, employers, school districts, and states, who claim the IRS is taxing them without congressional authorization.

The Halbig Subpoena, Michael F. Cannon, blogger on “health, freedom, and other uncertainties,” today

Oh, dear.  Scaaaaary.

I’m pressed for time, so for background I’ll quote from a Jan. 30 post of mine about Halbig:

Hmm.  Okay, let me take a crack at this.  The law gives each state the option of running its own exchange or instead allowing the federal government to run an exchange for the state–an operation that must be done separately for each state, because each state has its own insurance companies offering different policies than other states, and subject to state insurance laws and state agency oversight.

George Will Comes Out for Single-Payer Healthcare Insurance! Again! (This time, though, it’s the Constitution’s ‘origination’ clause that made him do it.)

Updated below.


If the president wants to witness a refutation of his assertion that the survival of the Affordable Care Act is assured, come Thursday he should stroll the 13 blocks from his office to the nation’s second-most important court, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. There he can hear an argument involving yet another constitutional provision that evidently has escaped his notice. It is the origination clause, which says: “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.”

Obamacare’s doom, George F. Will, Washington Post, May 2

Hmmm. And y’all thought it was the antidisestablishmentarianism clause in the ACA that was going to be Obamacare’s doom, after reading that column of Will’s back a few months ago that said so. But, he promised!

Oh, well, doom is doom, whatever the sound of the death knell. So, not to worry, Chuck and Dave. Will explains:

Roger and George [Will]*

Despite the UAW’s attempt to do for the South what it has done to Detroit, the South can continue to practice entrepreneurial federalism. Capital is mobile. It goes where it is welcomed and stays where it is well treated, so states compete to create tax and regulatory environments conducive to job creation. Liberals call this a “race to the bottom.” Conservatives call it a race to rationality.

Breaking the grip of the unions, George F. Will, the Washington Post, Feb. 18

Yup.  The decline of the U.S. auto industry was the fault of the UAW, not, say, decisions by top management to deliberately destroy vehicle quality and ignore the clearly growing need for fuel efficiency.

Bring back the Ford Pinto!  And the Chevy Vega!  We want to compete with those anti-union German companies,* and those employee-hostile Japanese ones!

Elsewhere in that column, Will complains that VW management was quietly assisting the UAW in its organizing efforts.  Obviously a plot to undermine VW’s competitiveness.

Seriously?  Seriously?

Note to Mr. Will: There is a difference between ideology and fact; ideology does not constitute fact.

What a ridiculous column.


*Updated to add that link to a Dec. 2011 Forbes article.  The article’s title: “How Germany Builds Twice As Many Cars As The U.S. While Paying Its Workers Twice As Much.