Did the Supreme Court Get Snookered During Obamacare Oral Arguments?

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Andrew Sprung has been on a crusade over the past month over a single issue brought up during the Supreme Court’s oral arguments over Obamacare. The issue is catastrophic coverage, and today he summarizes everything he’s written about it:

In his oral argument against the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate on March 27, plaintiff’s counsel Michael Carvin asserted, “Congress prohibits anyone over 30 from buying any kind of catastrophic health insurance” (p. 105).

That is not true — the ACA provides the catastrophic coverage option for others exempt from the mandate, e.g. on grounds of financial hardship. And that factual error signals a greater distortion, one that was not countered and apparently made a major impression on Justices Alito, Roberts and Scalia: that the mandate forces Americans to buy coverage greatly in excess of what’s required to offset the cost of catastrophic care for those lacking health insurance. No one pointed out that a) the ACA provides a catastrophic coverage option for those under 30; b) that it extends that option to others exempt from the mandate on financial or other grounds; or c) that the bronze plans offered in the exchanges, as the Kaiser Family Foundation recently detailed, might also reasonably be labeled “catastrophic” coverage.

Andrew suggests that the Obama administration should try to file a supplemental brief with the court: “One way or another, it seems to me worthwhile to try to reach Justice Kennedy and/or one of his colleagues with a two-track argument: 1) the mandate is properly ‘minimized’; Congress exercised what you might call a self-limiting principle; and 2) if you don’t think it is sufficiently minimized, limit it further without killing it.”

There’s more at the link, and even more links at the link. It’s worth a read.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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