In the wake of the Halbig decision many Republicans celebrated believing it struck a blow Obamacare might not recover from. However Jamelle Bouie over at Slate says not so fast. He argues that the decision came when Obamacare was on an upswing with the public, and will blame Republicans for losing subsidies and premium increases.
Taking a look at this argument one must ask: Is Obamacare really becoming more popular? According to Real Clear Politics of five major polls all of them show majorities of Americans oppose the law. Further Rasmussen Reports shows only 20% of Americans think the law a success. This polling data shows Republicans have reason to continue repealing Obamacare and celebrate any court rulings that further that goal.
However Bouie goes further and says that there are millions of Americans who are “beneficiaries” of the law. He cites the fact that more than 5 million people in 36 States have signed up on the Federal exchange. While this is true, at least 5 million people had their plans cancelled because of Obamacare rules. It is disingenuous to tout enrollment numbers as a sign of the laws popularity when you will be fined if you don’t enroll. What makes this argument worse is that the President explicitly promised Americans they could keep their plans if they wanted to.
Bouie believes that Democrats can and will hit Republicans as “hostile to Middle Class families and any one else who needs insurance” because of the Halbig decision. This ignores the reality that the court was just upholding what the law itself said, namely that people who get insurance through the Federal exchange don’t qualify for subsidies. The blame for that lays firmly at the feet of the democrats who said we had to pass the bill before we could see what’s in it. They did that without any Republican votes and now want to blame them when their chickens come home to roost? Not so fast!