Supreme Court saves Obamacare

Obamacare has survived — again.

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court saved the controversial health care law that will define President Barack Obama’s administration for generations to come.

The ruling holds that the Affordable Care Act authorized federal tax credits for eligible Americans living not only in states with their own exchanges but also in the 34 states with federal marketplaces. It staved off a major political showdown and a mad scramble in states that would have needed to act to prevent millions from losing health care coverage.

“Five years ago, after nearly a century of talk, decades of trying, a year of bipartisan debate, we finally declared that in America, health care is not a privilege for a few but a right for all,” Obama said from the White House. “The Affordable Care Act is here to stay”

In a moment of high drama, Chief Justice John Roberts sent a bolt of tension through the Court when he soberly announced that he would issue the majority opinion in the case. About two-thirds of the way through his reading, it became clear that he again would be responsible for rescuing Obamacare.

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

He was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy — who is often the Court’s swing vote — and the four liberal justices. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the dissent, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

When he finished, Roberts announced that Scalia would read a dissent.

“Indeed,” the veteran justice replied, sparking laughter in the Court and offering a preview of the stinging repudiation of the majority opinion he was about to unfurl.

‘Interpretative jiggery-pokery’

Seated right next to the Chief Justice, Scalia proceeded to eviscerate his reasoning. He reeled off a string of unflattering descriptions about the ruling, calling it “wonderfully convenient,” complaining about “interpretative jiggery-pokery” and arguing it was not the Court’s job to make up for the sloppy drafting of the law by Congress.

Roberts heard the dissent throughout without giving a visible reaction until Scalia quipped that the law should be called SCOTUScare, causing the Chief Justice to chuckle and sending laughter through the public galleries.

Challengers to the law argued that the federal government should not be allowed to continue doling out subsidies to individuals living in states without their own health insurance exchanges and a ruling in their favor would have cut off subsidies to 6.4 million Americans, absent a congressional fix or state action.

The ruling is a huge victory for President Barack Obama, who nearly saw four words in the Affordable Care Act throw his signature achievement into chaos.

“By focusing on the text and structure of the statute, as opposed to the IRS’s interpretation of the statute, today’s decision means that the next President can’t just undo federal exchanges. Instead, it will take an Act of Congress—and a President willing to sign it—to thwart the heart of Obamacare,” said Steve Vladeck, a CNN contributor and law professor at American University.

Subsidies

The income-based subsidies are crucial to the law’s success, helping to make health insurance more affordable and ultimately reducing the number of uninsured Americans, and shutting off the subsidy spigot to individuals in the 34 states that rely on exchanges run by the federal government would have upended the law.

Congress would have had to amend the Affordable Care Act to fix its language that subsidies would be available only to those who purchase insurance on exchanges “established by the state” — a politically treacherous and likely untenable action in a Republican Congress. Alternatively, governors in the 34 states without their own exchanges, most of them Republicans, would have had to establish their own exchanges — another tough ask.

Roberts, writing for the majority, said while the contentious phrase was ambiguous, its meaning in context of the law as a whole was clear.

“The context and structure of the Act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase,” Roberts wrote.

The conservative Chief Justice was once again an unlikely hero in saving Obama’s signature legislative achievement. He took heat from conservatives in 2012 when he first saved the law from a major constitutional challenge in a decision that stunned pundits and politicos across the ideological spectrum.

This always come down to money and big business. As I always say until health care is patient driven and not profit driven health care is not going to improve.

Dipshit of the day: Second New York prison worker charged in breakout

A second New York prison employee was arrested on Wednesday for the escape of two convicted murderers who have eluded a massive police manhunt for almost three weeks, police said.

Clinton Correctional Facility officer Gene Palmer, 57, allegedly took frozen hamburger meat embedded with smuggled tools to the inmates, Richard Matt and David Sweat, CNN quoted Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie as saying.

Wylie also said Palmer escorted the men into the catwalk area behind their cells to fix electrical breakers so the inmates could use hot plates to cook food. Authorities have said Matt and Sweat used the catwalks during their June 6 escape.

Matt, 48, and Sweat, 35, cut through the steel walls of their adjoining cells, slipped through a steam pipe and emerged from a manhole outside the prison’s fortress-like walls in Dannemora, New York, according to authorities.

They used tools brought into the prison by Joyce Mitchell, 51, a training supervisor in the prison tailor shop, who is charged with aiding their escape, Wylie has said.

New York State Police said Palmer has been charged with promoting prison contraband, destroying evidence and official misconduct. Palmer is set to be arraigned in Plattsburgh Town Court late on Wednesday, the police said in a statement.

Police said the escapees may have at least one gun from a cache of weapons in a cabin where they hid about 20 miles (30 km) from the maximum security prison.

Major Charles Guess of the New York State Police told a news conference that Sweat and Matt were believed to have been last seen entering woods near the cabin in Owls Head, New York, on Saturday.

A bloody sock and other items found at the cabin, which is reportedly owned by corrections officers, were tested for DNA, and Guess said police had “100 percent assurance they were in that area.”

More than 1,000 law enforcement officers scoured 75 square miles (194 square km) in rugged Franklin County, east of the prison.

Authorities are focused on the Adirondack Mountains, the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi River, state Department of Environmental Conservation Captain John Streiff said.

Mitchell, the training supervisor, supplied hacksaw blades and a screwdriver bit to the men, whose good behavior landed them on the prison’s honor block.

What the fuck is wrong with these people?                

These prison workers must be serious liberals………

Retro of the day: Three Dog Night


An Old Fashioned Love Song” is a 1971 song by the American pop-rock bandThree Dog NightChuck Negron performed the lead vocal on this track. Taken as the lead single from their 1971 album, Harmony, the song peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1971, becoming the band’s seventh top-ten hit.[1] It was Three Dog Night’s first record to top the U.S. easy listening chart.[2] “An Old Fashioned Love Song” was written by the noted songwriter Paul Williams. Its lyrics suggest the straightforward and melodic nature of the tune:Just an old fashioned love song / Comin’ down in three part harmony / Just an old fashioned love song / One I’m sure they wrote for you and me.

According to the Karen Carpenter biography Little Girl Blue by Randy L. Schmidt, Williams originally intended the song for The Carpenters, who were in the middle of a string of hits with their own brand of “old fashioned love songs,” including two of Williams’ own compositions, “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Rainy Days and Mondays.” Although this was the first song Williams had written specifically for the Carpenters, Richard Carpenter rejected it, and so Williams offered the song to Three Dog Night. The Carpenters never recorded the song, but did perform it live on television with Carol Burnett a few months later.