Nor does the statute support a contrary interpretation “when read in its entirety.” Tellingly, the economists [who challenge the ruling in Halbig] cite no statutory language authorizing the government to tax the plaintiffs. Nor do they offer contemporaneous statements from the law’s authors supporting their reinterpretation.
Nor is the claim that Congress intended to withhold subsidies in those 36 states “absurd.” Withholding federal subsidies in uncooperative states is how Congress sought to induce states to implement Obamacare’s other major coverage expansion, too. As enacted, the legislation threatened to withhold 12 times as much funding — and to deny health coverage to the poorest of the poor — in states that did not expand their Medicaid programs. As we write, Obamacare is revoking exchange subsidies from hundreds of thousands of enrollees based on residency status and income.
No Obamacare supporter wanted to take coverage away from the poorest of the poor. Yet not even Mr. Aaron, Mr. Cutler or Mr. Orszag could deny that is precisely how Congress intended the law to operate.
Adam C. Smith’s and Bruce Yandle’s new and must-read book is now out: Bootleggers & Baptists. Bruce’s 1983 Regulation essay is the seed of this research. See also this LearnLiberty video. (Adam, by the way, earned his PhD in economics at GMU – and he is the great Bruce Yandle’s grandson.)