Olens, GOP courting chaos in health-care lawsuit

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to strip some 450,000 Georgians of the federal subsidies that have helped them to afford health insurance. Most are lower-income working people, some with pre-existing conditions that had previously made them ineligible for private coverage.

What happens to those people if Olens and his allies succeed in their crusade? What happens to the insurance and health-care industries in the state? Nobody knows for sure, but what is worse, nobody seems to care.

Certainly, many of those 450,000 would be forced to drop their insurance coverage. Georgia’s uninsured rate — already the third highest in the country, according to Gallup — would rise still further. With hundreds of thousands of Georgians again without insurance, the state’s already faltering health-care system would face additional strain. (In a performance ranking by the Commonwealth Fund, Georgia’s health-care system was rated 45th in the country in 2014, a rapid decline from 35th just five years earlier. It’s astonishing to see that same rapid decline in metric after metric, from transportation to economics to health care).

But that’s just the beginning. Most experts warn that if Olens and his allies win their argument, the market for individual health coverage in Georgia and other affected states would collapse into chaos, even for those who haven’t used federal subsidies to buy coverage. (SEE UPDATE BELOW)

According to America’s Health Insurance Plans, the nation’s largest health-insurance trade group, the result would be “severely dysfunctional insurance markets” in Georgia and 33 other affected states. “It would leave consumers in those states with a more unstable market and far higher costs than if the Affordable Care Act had not been enacted,” AHIP warns in a brief filed this week before the Supreme Court.

Nonetheless, Olens and five other state attorneys general — all Republicans — argue in their own brief that an estimated five million Americans are receiving illegal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.** As they read the law, such subsidies can be offered only in states that establish their own health-insurance exchanges. They argue that in states such as Georgia, which refused to establish such an exchange and relies instead on a federal exchange, such subsidies are illegal. And if that means that a lot of people in their own states lose health insurance, so be it.

The legal virtues of the case, King v. Burwell, are hotly contested, with prominent, well-respected lawyers offering arguments on both sides. It is likely to be decided by yet another narrow 5-4 vote, with arguments in March and a decision expected by June. That’s not much time.

Yet at both the federal and state levels, those who are pushing the case hardest are doing almost nothing to prepare for the chaos that will result should their argument carry the day. They voice confidence that the subsidies will be overturned, yet they show little concern about dealing with the aftermath.

Here in Georgia, for example, the state Legislature could make the issue moot by voting to establish a state-based insurance exchange. It won’t do so. To the contrary, last year it voted to bar state employees from preparing for such a step.

And in Washington, where Republicans control both houses of Congress, no visible progress is being made in preparing options. The GOP can’t bring itself to fix ObamaCare if necessary, and it can’t agree even with itself about an alternative. They are eager to destroy, but they appear to have no idea how to build.
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** Tellingly, those six Republican attorneys general are in a distinct minority even among their GOP peers. Most of the 26 states that challenged the constitutionality of ObamaCare in the 2012 NFIB v. Sebelius declined to participate in this case.

UPDATE: I contacted Olens’ office Wednesday seeking comment, but had received no reply by the time this was posted. Here is his response, received Thursday afternoon:

“This lawsuit is about the rule of law, plain and simple. I agree that affordable health insurance and excellent care are absolutely needed, but many Americans are rightly concluding that they are not getting what they were promised.

The Obama administration knows that the law cannot be enforced as written. Otherwise, there would not be a need for the numerous exceptions and delays they have put in place. Just because the Obama administration decides that the law that President Obama himself signed does not meet its objectives in practice, it cannot choose to disregard  the law carte blanche.

I will not stand by and let this lawlessness go unchallenged, and I cannot apologize for insisting that the president should follow the law. The fact that a DC Circuit Court of Appeals panel agreed with the states’ position and the Supreme Court of the United States has chosen it for review, indicates that this is a serious legal issue that needs to be settled.”

Reader Comments 0

468 comments
JoeBobJoe
JoeBobJoe

Problem solved,  when these people lose their tax subsidized insurance,  Jay and and all his whining libtard friends can chip in and pay for them.

JackClemens
JackClemens

 "It’s astonishing to see that same rapid decline in metric after metric" When your politicians are only concerned about tax cuts, guns, abortions, the Lord's Prayer, destroying public schools, etc. why would it be astonishing. Mission accomplished is more like it.

EliasDenny
EliasDenny

I used to be proud to be from Georgia but in the last twenty years that has changed and I have grave fears for the future of my grandchildren.

Shar1
Shar1

Can't let lawlessness go unchallenged but can't be bothred to follow the law regarding disclosure of evidence, thus earning rebuke by the Supreme Court and costing Georgians millions of dollars. 


What a greasy, elitist, self-righteous hypocrite. Olens should be disbarred.

NWGAL
NWGAL

Can't let lawlessness go unchallenged but has no problem letting people die who have pre existing conditions, like being part of the working poor.

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

Fedup - "Is gas chamber is your solution to the blight?  Get rid of them real quick."


And you expect people to take your posts seriously????


I tell you what, Fedup.  Why don't you pack up a few shoe boxes full of excuses, take em down to the food bank, and see how many poor people you can feed with them.  

gotalife
gotalife

Obamacare is law whether you like it or not.



Claver
Claver

There might be 33 states that have not yet established exchanges today, but I think that will change fast if the Court rules the way Olens wants.  The few Democratic states on the list and the the Republican ones that already expanded Medicaid, will quickly "establish" exchanges.  Georgia and a handful of others will hold out a while but there's going to be a lot of pressure for them to fold as well.  So, the only real result is that several hundred thousand lower middle class and middle class Georgia voters will lose their health insurance - or pay more for it - for a few years.

Smokeyone
Smokeyone

@Claver That's a reasonable educated guess. Here's another, thousands of Georgians will get sicker and die sooner because of this as well.

Soothsayer2
Soothsayer2

 Ukraine Is "Pressing" Obama For $3 Billion In Financial Aid

It would appear Gazprom has once again come knocking for payment - or else. As Bloomberg reports,Ukraine is pressing the Obama administration to provide political support, as much as $3b in financial aid and “non-lethal weapons,” with the goal of some progress by the end of February, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko says. Of course, given Europe's agreement to further sanction Russia (asEU agrees more "punitive" steps are now possible)President Obama will be happy to lend Ukraine more American taxpayer money(despite the market's perception that Ukraine's default probability is over 80% - six year highs).

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-29/ukraine-pressing-obama-3-billion-financial-aid

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

I would imagine things is getting a little cold there in Ukraine without no gas.

But, then again, what's a paltry $3Billions between friends?

Especially when we have people going hungry in this country?

LeninTime
LeninTime

Lol! 

Hey maybe you and Headley can petition to Jay to get me banned. 

And on that note, I'm out for awhile.

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

Serious question....


Is there anybody on either side of the political spectrum who isn't sick of Lenin's drivel?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Well, I gave 53 more than a minute there. He didn't recant, and so, about this:

the libs stick to bashing the Koch bros. for doing exactly the same thing Soros does on the other side of the spectrum. 

No.

Not "exactly the same." Not even nearly exactly the same.

Soros has for many, many years made it perfectly apparent to one and all of his contributions to various philanthropic enterprises, some of which are decidedly sociopolitical in nature. 

I'm not even going to look 'em up, we all know he's been doing it for ages.

The Kochs operated in near secrecy for years, funnelling dark money all over, for decades. It wasn't until some great investigative reporting outed them not that many years ago that America became aware of how these wealthy heirs to a family fortune were monkeying around with local and state legislative efforts. They have become more open of late, but only because they were brought out into the sunlight kicking and screaming.

Huge difference.

LeninTime
LeninTime

 I'd settle for these kids parents (both of them if needed...) showing up for work, spending their money on NECESSITIES instead of tattoos and cigarettes

***

Note the utter disgust of this individual towards workers, which is of a quite visceral nature. 

They literally disgust him.

Which, it is important to realize for classification purposes, is strictly speaking a hallmark feature of the fascist. 

Corporatism is happy to ally itself with these elements in times of extreme systemic crisis - like the 1930s - because these elements happily volunteer to do the the corporations's dirty work for them, which they do by smashing the workers movements and beating workers - quite literally - into shape.

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

You see, libs, one of your mental problems is you think most of our poor are poor because they don't have a job and not because they either can't keep a job or won't do a job.  


You simply have no idea what you're talking about and refuse to learn the truth.  

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Really, have we ever seen anything more shameful than the Scalia wing of the court having its way on the Voting Rights Act, in recent history? 

Have we all forgotten Antonin's amazing brush-off of how the VRA had been re-authorized by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate, and signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007?

In case you have:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/27/voting-rights-act-supreme-court_n_2768942.html

Justice Antonin Scalia suggested that the continuation of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act represented the "perpetuation of racial entitlement," saying that lawmakers had only voted to renew the act in 2006 because there wasn't anything to be gained politically from voting against it.

"Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes," Scalia said during oral argument in Shelby County v. Holder.

"Even the name of it is wonderful, the Voting Rights Act. Who's going to vote against that?" Scalia wondered. 

That we live in a country where a court can just decide that they know what's really inside the minds of HOR and Senate members, and say so without having themselves impeached and removed from office, really ought to give any decent people, of any political stripe, some serious pause.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Visual_Cortex 

So Scalia invalidated a law, because he didn't like the reasons he thinks our elected representative voted for it?  By that logic, he can rule any way he wants on any law, because he knows how our representatives "really" should have voted.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Nick_Danger @Visual_Cortex

Exactly. It's really an order of magnitude more hubris than I can even imagine any President or Congressperson ever displaying in public.

And yet, we just accept it as Anthony being Anthony, that lovable scamp.

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

"This, coming from someone who will b*tch about George Soros later on this evening.  Priceless!!!"


It's funny to watch you libs fawn over Soros like he's some sort of god of the liberal cause.  Guess what, libs, he's not sharing his wealth with you.  He's taking every tax deduction he can get away with, he pays his employees the going wage and nothing more, and he's not selling his possessions to give to the poor.  How you people have such ire for the CEO of McDonald's and such love for Soros is just inconceivable.  

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

@Nick_Danger @fiftythreepercenter And the libs stick to bashing the Koch bros. for doing exactly the same thing Soros does on the other side of the spectrum.  When was the last time you heard Harry Reid call out Soros from the senate floor?  


Wake up, libs.  You'r double standards are thin and old.  

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@fiftythreepercenter @Nick_Danger LOL . . . this much i do know, the special interests Soros backs are different than those backed by the Koch brothers. He also made his money versus inheriting it, didn't he? So, sorry, there's some differences there. Guess you BFFs just aren't advocating for what ol' Harry likes. Now McConnell can shower them with unrequited love.

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@fiftythreepercenter you know what's really funny . . . you know infinitely more about Mr. Soros than most of us here do. How he became the poster boy for the Right is beyond me frankly.