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Three Plaintiffs In ACA Challenge Lack Standing To Bring Case Before SCOTUS

Of the four plaintiffs named in the King v. Burwell case, three aren't even eligible for the exchanges.
Three Plaintiffs In ACA Challenge Lack Standing To Bring Case Before SCOTUS

On March 4th, the United States Supreme Court will hear a case that they should never have agreed to take, brought by an organization funded by the Kochtopus and raising issues which are completely bogus. If Chief Justice John Roberts has his way, they will rule on this bogus case and gut the Affordable Care Act.

Here's the kicker: Three of the four plaintiffs in the case aren't even eligible to participate on the exchanges, rendering this case even more bogus than it was when they started it.

Here's the scoop from the Wall Street Journal:

David King is one of four plaintiffs in a case before the court next month that could halt Affordable Care Act subsidies that make insurance cheaper for millions of Americans. At issue is whether the wording of the law allows the Obama administration to distribute tax credits to residents of up to 37 states that don’t run their insurance exchanges, including Virginia, where the plaintiffs live.

The plaintiffs have persuaded courts to hear their case on the grounds that the subsidies allegedly harm them by subjecting them to the law’s requirement to carry insurance or pay a penalty. Without the subsidies, insurance would be too expensive for them, they contend, thus making them exempt from having to pay the fine for lacking insurance.

But Mr. King could avoid paying that fine or any insurance premiums because, according to him and his attorneys, he served in the Army in Vietnam. That qualifies him for medical coverage with no premiums through the Department of Veterans Affairs, benefits and legal experts say. In an interview at his home here, Mr. King said he had been to a VA medical center and had a VA identification card, which typically serves as proof of VA-care enrollment.

Legal experts say the fact that Mr. King could avoid paying the penalty for lacking insurance by enrolling in VA coverage undermines his legal right to bring the case, known as “standing.” The wife of a second plaintiff has described her husband on social media as being a Vietnam veteran. The government previously questioned the standing of a third plaintiff on the grounds that her income may exempt her from paying the penalty for lacking insurance, but a lower court didn’t address the issue.


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Standing issues with these three plaintiffs don’t jeopardize the case, legal experts say, because only one plaintiff needs standing for the suit to proceed before the court. Instead, they could create skepticism about the strength of the challengers’ case and highlight the difficulty of finding plaintiffs to show the health law’s subsidies harm Americans, these experts say.

The fourth plaintiff, Brenda Levy, is a 64-year-old substitute teacher, according to her court declaration.

Jones Day lawyers hired by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the libertarian think tank that initiated and bankrolled the case, said they were aware of Mr. King’s veteran status, as well as that of Douglas Hurst of Virginia Beach, the second plaintiff, and they didn’t believe it posed an issue.

They might not believe it poses an issue, but it does pose an issue. Standing is always the first thing the court considers before it ever moves to the issues at hand. Now we see that 3 of the 4 puppets the Koch-operated Competitive Enterprise Institute put before the court don't even suffer any harm as a result of the Affordable Care Act. As for the 64-year old substitute teacher, she'll be getting Medicare before she ever faces a penalty from the ACA.

The court should never have taken this case, and they should smack it down rapidly and hard when they do hear it. They certainly have the ability to do so, simply by listening to former Senator Ben Nelson, who wrote, "I always believed that tax credits should be available in all 50 states regardless of who built the exchange, and the final law also reflects that belief as well."

Yes, that Senator Ben Nelson, the one who angled for the "Cornhusker Kickback" during the Senate debates of the Affordable Care Act in early 2010.

Any ruling that doesn't uphold the ACA subsidies will confirm the Supreme Court as an illegitimate tool of Republican activism.

Linda Greenhouse, for the New York Times:

So will the Affordable Care Act survive its second encounter with the Roberts court? I said earlier that this case is as profound in its implications as the earlier constitutional one. The fate of the statute hung in the balance then and hangs in the balance today, but I mean more than that. This time, so does the honor of the Supreme Court. To reject the government’s defense of the law, the justices would have to suspend their own settled approach to statutory interpretation as well as their often-stated view of how Congress should act toward the states.

I have no doubt that the justices who cast the necessary votes to add King v. Burwell to the court’s docket were happy to help themselves to a second chance to do what they couldn’t quite pull off three years ago. To those justices, I offer the same advice I give my despairing friends: Read the briefs. If you do, and you proceed to destroy the Affordable Care Act nonetheless, you will have a great deal of explaining to do — not to me, but to history.

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