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The Halbig Troofers


For those interested in the subject, Beutler, Sargent, and Kliff all offer essential reading on Halbig trooferism. The question of whether the subsidies would be available on the federally established state exchanges isn’t some obscure point that was never considered during the legislative process. It was crucial to the operation of the legislation, it was widely considered, and as the structure of the legislation indicates there was universal contemporaneous agreement that the subsidies would be available on the exchanges irrespective of whether they were established by states or the feds. There was no dissent on this point. The argument that Congress intended to deny subsidies on the federal exchanges is quite simply absurd.

I know I’ve been writing a lot about this, but it really is critically important. It’s 21st century American conservatism in a nutshell: using arguments of increasingly staggering bad faith to pursue exceedingly unattractive normative ends. As Chait says, this argument has morphed from an argument that millions of people should be denied health insurance because the card says “Moops” to an argument that the tribe that invaded Spain was actually called the “Moops.” (I think Chait is also right about the reason for making the argument substantially more absurd. It’s hard to deny your responsibility for kicking people off of their health insurance when it’s the result of your opportunistically idiotic theories of statutory interpretation, but invent a congressional intent to do so and it’s easier to play “don’t look at me, I didn’t do it.”)

Related to all this, Drum offers a reward:

But maybe I’m wrong! So here’s my offer: I will send a crisp, new ten-dollar bill to anyone who can point out a conservative who so much as suspected that subsidies were limited to state exchanges prior to March 2010. Surely that’s incentive enough? Let’s start digging up evidence, people.

My 10 bucks says that Drum’s total payout will be “nothing.” Indeed, I’m quite confident he could offer the winner a shiny new Thermomix without any substantial risk. I wish I thought this would stop the troofers, but they really don’t care.

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