Home / General / An (Almost) Accurate History of the ACA

An (Almost) Accurate History of the ACA

Comments
/
/
/
1137 Views

Jonathan_Gruber_at_US_House_Oversight_Cmte_in_2014Above: Father, Architect, and Sole Creator of the ACA

 

A very useful account of the statutory language that launched the lawsuit that is as dangerous as it is silly:

“I don’t ever recall any distinction between federal and state exchanges in terms of the availability of subsidies,” said Olympia J. Snowe, a former Republican senator from Maine who helped write the Finance Committee version of the bill.

[…]

The words were written by professional drafters — skilled nonpartisan lawyers — from the office of the Senate legislative counsel, then James W. Fransen. It appears that the four words now being challenged were based on the initial premise and were carelessly left in place as the legislation evolved.

The language of the Finance Committee bill was written largely by Mr. Fransen and a tax expert, Mark J. Mathiesen, while much of the health committee version was written by William R. Baird, a public health expert. The two committees worked on separate tracks.

This is mostly accurate.  However, let me re-write that to clear up some minor errors:

“I don’t ever recall any distinction between federal and state exchanges in terms of the availability of subsidies,” said Jonathan H. Gruber, a former Republican senator from Maine, Senate Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, President, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and 211-game winner who helped write the Finance Committee version of the bill.

[…]

The words were written by professional drafters — skilled nonpartisan lawyers — from the office of the Senate legislative counsel, then Jonathan Gruber. It appears that the four words now being challenged were based on the initial premise and were carelessly left in place as the legislation evolved.

The language of the Finance Committee bill was written largely by Mr. Gruber and a tax expert, Jonathan H. Gruber, while much of the health committee version was written by Jonathan H. Gruber, a public health expert. The two committees worked on separate tracks.

These minor corrections aside, I think you can see what the report is driving at.

Oh, and what about the assertion that nobody ever considered the possibility that a state would not set up a health iusurance exchange? Well, funny thing:

But senators and staff lawyers came to believe that some states — “five or 10 at the most” — would choose not to set up exchanges, said Christopher E. Condeluci, who was a staff lawyer for Republicans on the Finance Committee.

Did many members of Congress underestimate the number of states that would establish exchanges? Absolutely! Did they assume that every state would do so? Of course not! It’s unfortunate that Pear once assumed that, but I’m glad that he’s cleared this up. And to state the obvious, Congress did not set up a federal backstop that was designed to fail.

…Chait:

And so we are left with a lawsuit that is likely to gain at least three, and possibly as many as five, votes on the Supreme Court despite the fact that it rests on a history that is almost literally insane. Even those of us who have a low estimation of the intellectual standards of the conservative movement have been astounded by its ability to persuade itself of a historical theory so clearly at odds with reality.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
It is main inner container footer text