About the Author
Opinion Archives
E-mail Scott
Scott's Links

Courts should not be writing health care policy

By Scott Tibbs, July 31, 2014

When a federal appeals court ruled last week that people in states that have not set up an exchange were not eligible for subsidies under ObamaCare, a great deal of ink was spilled (and many more kilobytes of text were posted) explaining why this decision was bad. Some people argued that the interpretation of the law was flawed, but many more argued that the decision is bad policy - including people who should know better than to write such nonsense.

Have we become so ignorant of our system of government that we do not understand the three basic branches of government and their roles? The legislative branch writes the laws, the executive branch enforces the law and the judicial branch interprets the law - including whether or not the implementation of ObamaCare (including who gets subsidies) is consistent with the text of the law passed by Congress.

The subsides are either permitted under ObamaCare or they are not. The public policy impact of ruling one way or another does not (or at least should not) matter in the determination of whether those subsidies are legal.

My point here is not to argue the legal merits of the decision. I have not read the decision or the text of the law that was at issue. My point is that the text of the law (not public policy goals) should be the only basis for the court to rule on the legality of the Obama administration's implementation of the law.