Tuesday, January 27, 2015

9-0 for silence

This should be interesting when King v. Burwell is argued;
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with a company that amended a collective bargaining agreement to force retirees to pay toward healthcare costs, throwing out a lower-court ruling that favored the former employees who objected to the change.
On a unanimous vote, the nine-member court handed a win to M&G Polymers USA....
Justice Clarence Thomas, writing on behalf of the court, said the appeals court had not used the correct legal analysis.
Thomas wrote that “when a contract is silent as to the duration of retiree benefits, a court may not infer that the parties intended those benefits to vest for life.”
Golden. Now, what does silence about subsidies and companion taxes in the PPACA, regarding Federal health insurance exchanges mean, Justices? As Michael Cannon explains the issue;
Section 1401 authorizes subsidies (nominally, “tax credits”) for exchange enrollees whose household income falls between 100 and 400% of the federal poverty level, who are not eligible for qualified employer coverage or other government programs, and who enroll in coverage “through an Exchange established by the State.” Each of these eligibility restrictions is as clear as the next.
The statute makes no provision for subsidies in federally established exchanges.
The mere availability of exchange subsidies triggers penalties under the ACA’s employer and individual mandates. Under the statute, then, if a state does not establish an exchange: (1) those subsidies are not available; (2) a state’s employers are exempt from the employer mandate; and (3) the lion’s share of its residents are exempt from the individual mandate.
This appears to have been the IRS’s initial interpretation of the statute, at least until something went terribly wrong.
The PPACA, not being a contract, but a tax law (said the Chief Justice, John Roberts) where is the authority for the IRS to do what it has done?

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