The infamous Michael A. Carvin is at it again.
You might remember him as the lawyer who railed against President Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the Supreme Court in 2012. The case, National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius, didn't bludgeon the ACA—but it did lead to some state provisions that allowed Americans to opt out.
Now, three years later and with the ACA still hotly contested, Carvin is at it again. This time, he's taken on Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr., speaking on behalf of the government (no pressure there, Don).
What's upsetting Carvin this time? One simple phrase:
"Exchange established by the state."
Basically, tax credit subsidies (essentially, a federally implemented tax reduction) are given to folks who live where an "exchange" (insurance marketplace) has been "established by the state." Got it? Good. But in 34 states, the federal—not state—government presides over the "exchange" . . . which makes the "exchange established by the state" wording potentially problematic.
Not surprisingly, the case has ties to those with an ACA axe to grind. It began, in fact, as a legal theory hatched by a group of conservative lawyers in 2010 at a conference sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, the right-leaning think tank. One of the men at the conference was Michael Greve, who said, and we quote:
“This bastard [ACA] has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene. I don’t care how this is done, whether it’s dismembered, whether we drive a stake through its heart, whether we tar and feather it and drive it out of town, whether we strangle it. I don’t care who does it, whether it’s some court some place, or the United States Congress. Any which way, any dollar spent on that goal is worth spending, any brief filed toward that end is worth filing, any speech or panel contribution toward that end is of service to the United States.”
And yes, that is the same American Enterprise Institute funded by the notorious ACA-bashing Koch Brothers.
Could conservatives be making a mountain out of a molehill in a brazen effort to dismantle the ACA?
What do you think?
Image: Wikimedia Commons