Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Supreme Ironies: Obama, The Courts, and the Independent Payment Advisory Board

Life’s Little Ironies

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), Title of book

For President Obama, the future of his health law is full of irony:

As a constitutional lawyer, Obama may see his health law live or die in the Supreme Court, where his law may be declared illegal and unconstitutional.

His law may die in June, in the King v. Burwell case, if the Court rules federal subsidies are unlawful and unconstitutional in 34 states.

Yet the law may live if the Court decides otherwise. And the Court just might.

Yesterday the Supreme Court choose not to take up the case of the Independent Practice Advisory Board (IPAB), a 15 member board to be selected by the President and charged with the responsibility of making Medicare cuts for doctors. The case , Coons v. Lew, was brought by an Arizona Doctor and patient and the Goldwater Institute who said the IPAB exceeded Presidential authority. The case was dismissed by a lower appeals Court because the IPAB has yet to take any actions. It may be taken up latter after the IPAB acts.

The irony? Obama can’t veto court decisions, and his political adversaries have, understandably, turned their attentions to the judiciary. Nearly every significant initiative of the Obama Presidency faces mortal, or nearly mortal, threats in the courts.

From the start, the IPAB has been among the most controversial of ObamaCare’s provisions.

According to Politico among critics, the argument has been,

” The challengers say that the unique nature of the 15-member IPAB gives it unprecedented legal power. Its decisions cannot be overridden by Congress without a super-majority and cannot be challenged in court. The challengers — an Arizona patient and doctor — say that centralized power makes the IPAB illegal.” (Jeffrey Haberkorn, “Supreme Court Won’t Hear Case on ObamaCare Medical Board,” Politico, March 30, 2015).

The moral of this tale? Live by the law, die by the law, even if the law is something you and your party created to live in perpetuity.

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