The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons is an arm of the Kochtopus, funded by associated conservative groups to fight Obamacare on all levels. Closely associated with Ron and Rand Paul, the AAPS gives seminars around the country educating doctors on how to defeat Obamacare.
One of their favorite techniques is to recommend cash-only practices that accept no insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. But they've hit a snag. Since Obamacare came into being and more people have health insurance, they're not inclined to go to doctors who don't accept insurance. Imagine that.
So they went to court. And then they went to appellate court. And during today's arguments, the judge ripped their attorney, Andrew Schlafly, and he ripped him hard.
He then argued that people forced to buy insurance will never seek out cash practices in order to avoid paying for healthcare twice.
This did not satisfy Posner. "That's like saying people who get food stamps don't pay as much for groceries."
"We don't try to trace through all levels of the economy," Judge Frank Easterbook added.
Schlafly tried again: "In a concurring opinion by Justice Potter Stewart ..."
"Concurring opinions and $2.50 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks," Easterbook laughed. "I'm asking if you know of the Supreme Court ever allowing someone to sue for someone else's tax!"
As Schlafly floundered, Posner seemed skeptical: "The Act has had substantial economic consequences. Many people are better off, many are worse off. There are millions affected by this law. How do you have standing to sue? Is your proposition that anyone adversely affected has standing to sue?"
Schlafly began to cite another case, but Posner cut him off: "yes or no?"
"Depending on the issue ..."
"No!" Posner shouted. "It doesn't depend on the issue. It depends whether they're hurt."
Round 1: Judge 1, Schlafly 0
Moving on to Round 2.
"The bigger point is that we don't view it as a tax case since other constitutional provisions apply," Schlafly began.
Posner chuckled softly. "But your facts have only to do with the merits, not with standing. Can we have poor people suing the government because the income tax system isn't progressive enough? Suppose some poor people said it's an equal protection violation, and their rich compatriots are getting away with murder."
Schlafly started to turn to precedent again.
"Yes or no?"
"You answer my question!" Posner thundered. "Yes or no?"
"I don't think that is the logic ..."
"Yes or no? Yes or no?"
Then Schlafly backtracked again. "If there's a regulatory tax being applied in a way to harm the poor people, they would have standing," he said to the panel.
"With all due respect ..." Schlafly began.
"When you say that, what you're really saying is 'if you weren't a judge I'd call you an idiot.' If you want to be respectful, just say 'with respect,'" Easterbrook chimed in, to a laughing courtroom.
I would totally pay for video of this exchange. And yes, Andrew Schlafly is indeed the detestable Phyllis Schlafly's son. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.