tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN June 25, 2015 11:00am-1:01pm EDT
this is appropriation season and for one reason or another, the infear your tea of the bills the republicans voted in a way to sustain the president's veto, and the fact they are predicated on a sequestration figure that undermines our ability to meet the needs of the american people. you will see time in and again the democrats having a number of votes against the bills to sustain the president's veto and we will continue to do so. on the other side of the building the senate democrats have said they are not allowing any of the bills to come to the floor. the end result, we hope, will be soon, and that will be for us to go to the table to negotiate a budget that helps protect the american people invest in the future and creates jobs and reduces the deficit.
in terms of the defense budget, our secretary of defense has said this budget, the republican budget, the defense budget is a road to nowhere. it's all still an example of trickle down versus middle class economics. we know we can fined a balance in a fiscally responsible way to lift the sequester and invest in stronger defense and bigger paychecks for american workers. there are so many other things that are going on but i want to mention the voting rights act. since i began with the supreme court decision i will end my comments with yesterday the -- some of our members joined others on the senate side as
co-sponsors of a voting rights act that is really honors the right to vote so i commend them for that. others of us are invited to join as co-sponsors today and i am proud to do that. we must, once and for all stop the horrible attempts to stand between citizens and the right to vote. how can anybody take pride in what they do if they are putting up obstacles to participation. we want them removed. again, in the spirit of the fourth of july, the right to vote, most precious, and be patriotic and vote, and be patriotic and remove obstacles for participation. any questions? no. okay. yes, sir. >> reporter: since the tpa passed you said you wanted to sign the light on the tpp and what is that going to look like?
>> house democratic leader nancy pelosi briefing continues and you can follow it online at c-span.org. president obama will be speaking at 11:30 supreme court 6-3 upholding the subsidies of the 2010 health care law, and we will take your comments until the president comes out. democrats, 202-748-8920, and the decision was announced shortly after 10:00 this morning. one of two decisions handed down today, the other dealing with fair housing. speaker boehner did issue a statement about the ruling today in the case saying that
obamacare is fundamentally broken, increasing health care costs for millions of americans. today's ruling doesn't change that, the fact that republicans will continue to listen to american families. part of the comment today from speaker boehner. his briefing coming up at 11:30 online at c-span.org. we will show it to you later in our schedule and we will show you the entire oral argument from the supreme court in the king v. burwell case. let's hear from you larry from michigan. >> caller: i have a comment regarding the health care law. >> yeah. >> caller: seems to me that a fair solution to this would be the single payer whereas we have the 19-year-olds picking up their costs it's tremendous as opposed to others that maybe will get breaks. we want to spread this risk out
overall the citizens with a single payer program. i think the american public will support that in the future. thank you. >> bill in plano, texas. the republican line. bill, what do you think of the decision today from the court? >> caller: well, the decision is what it is. my question is great, now who is going to pay for it? >> appreciate that, bill. mike huckabee, the former arkansas governor and now a presidential candidate called the supreme court decision today a our founding fathers did not create a do-over provision the powers to circumvent congress and part of the decision today from chief justice john roberts
says that -- part of his decision, he says, though, the affordable care act contains more of a few examples of inartful writing. the chief justice voted in the majority, the 6-3 majority to uphold that decision. let's hear next from -- let's go to tom in pennsylvania. go ahead. >> caller: hello. >> you are on the air. >> caller: i am from florida. >> go ahead tom. >> caller: yeah. number one i think that one of the major failings of the republican party is not to come up with an alternative to obamacare that would work for everybody, but having said that this decision and other decisions that the court has made causes me to say that we
need to get honest about what is happening with regard to state's rights in the united states. it looks like they don't have any. for heaven sakes states are not able to pick up illegal aliens to protect their citizens from marching through their yards and causing havoc with their laws, so i think we really have to be honest about what is going on with states' rights. i know there is a lot of controversy with human rights that go along with that, but let's face it states don't have rights anymore? every time something comes up, it has to be the federal law. the other thing is, and i had to laugh about nancy pelosi talking about the intention of our founding fathers. after the revolutionary war, there was a convention and many states did not want to join the union, but at the convention the
leaders said don't worry, the federal law government will only take care of things that the states can't handle themselves, and that has been turned upside down on its head. that was the intention of our founders, and it could be found in the notes of the original constitutional convention. i wanted to make one other comment, too, about the lady who came up to the microphone and talked about ending segregation in housing. >> yes. >> caller: when people hear that, they think oh the south has to be, you know, really looked at here because they are the bad guys. i would like to ask two questions. number one, which state in the united states has the most segregated schools in the united states? oh is it a southern state? no, it happens to be new york. okay, that's a fact. another fact which state in the
united states was the last state to revoke jim crow laws? it was california. nancy pelosi's home state. i hope, even in few of what happened in charleston which was a shameful act, should never happen, and that thought process should never be allowed to exist. when people hear about segregation, they hear about the south, but the truth is, the south has probably done a lot better job than the midwest and west. >> that fair housing teadecision, one of two-handed down by the supreme court today. the health care decision passed 6-3. looking live in front of the supreme court, reaction to observers and demonstrateors in front of the court, and waiting to hear from president obama and his comments coming up at about 20 minutes, 11:30 eastern.
congress is in today, and reaction from rand paul, the senator from kentucky, and a presidential candidate quote as a physician tweets jeff zellny of cnn, obamacare is making all insurance more expensive. the democratic leader harry reid also had comments on the supreme court's decision. here is a look. >> today this great country of ours the affordable care act obamacare has survived the latest attempts to deny coverage to millions of workers families. america won today. republicans were seeming to strip the subsidies. america won, i repeat. very pure and very simple. more than 10 million americans are covered in the exchanges
operating across the country. many of them insured for the first time. 85% of these men and women receive tax credits that help them afford that coverage. but on top of that, 12 million more americans have coverage to the medicaid and children's health insurance programs and the commonwealth fund found 8 in 10 adults, four-fifths of people that have the programs are satisfied with it. the affordable care act is not perfect, and this law is working for millions and millions of americans, and we're approaching 20 million americans. once again the affordable care act prevailed. so mr. president i say respectfully to my senate colleagues, and i mean that stop banging your heads against the wall on this legislation that passed. it's the law of this nation. stop it. move on.
i promise you will be really -- they should have paused for a minute and looked back. mr. president i don't know the number any more, i don't know, i lost count of it it? is it 75, certainly approaching 100 that actual votes have taken place to repeal the law, and never came close to passing, of course, but they have done it time and time again. stop it. think of the time wastes doing that. as einstein said, the pure definition of insanity is somebody that keeps doing the same thing over and over again and gets the same results. i would hope republicans would rethink what they have been up to. their reckless cynical attacks on middle income families and that's what it amounted to.
i was interested in looking at the paper today at what republicans have suggested to do if the supreme court ruled against this law. every one of them without exception would be a tremendous blow to the budgeting process in america. this bill makes america money. it has cut the deficit significantly and that's why i say it makes the country money, and it allows for a more healthy nation. republicans weren't content to jeopardize the americans needed health care but it was revenge against president obama. they were happy trying to do that. so mr. president i also think
it's important to note that republicans who worked on this legislation in the process going through the committees here they admitted the legislation drafters never discussed withholding subsidies in the man manner set out by the plaintiffs, so i think they have had it with republicans trying to take a law that protects them from discrimination when they are sick or hurt. enough is enough. i had a group of people from nevada who have family members that suffer from cystic fibrosis. they were able to tell me that for the first time in the lives of their children they could not be denied insurance, and they are adults now and could not be denied insurance because of this law, and it has been revealed,
and the people with cyst eubg fibrosis and many other diseases would not be able to get health insurance, so mr. president let's move on to other topics, and stop this and stop wasting the time of the american people by trying to repeal the law. i appreciate the work done in the supreme court 6-3 decision, and it was a good decision, a strong decision, and it upheld the law. enough is enough. let's move on. senate democratic leader, harry reid reacting this morning to the decision in the supreme court from the supreme court in the king v. burwell case upholding the subsidies in the 2010 health care law and the reaction from mitch mcconnell this morning, and here is what that looked like. >> mr. president we are discussing the latest indictment
of a law that has been a rolling disaster for the american people, a rolling disaster. today's ruling won't change obamacare's multiple of broken promises, including the one that resulted in millions literally millions of americans losing the coverage they had and wanted to keep. today's ruling won't change obamacare's spectacular flaws. spectacular flaws from humiliating website debacles to the exchanges and states run by the law's loudest cheerleaders. today's ruling won't change the skyrocketing costs in premiums and deductibles and co-pays that hit the middle class so hard over the last few years. the politicians that forced obamacare on the american people now have a choice. they can crow about obama's care
latest wobble towards the edge or work with us to address the ongoing negative impact of a 2,000-page law that continues to make life literally miserable. miserable for so many of the same people it purported to help. reaction this morning from mitch mcconnell to the supreme court ruling. live here looking at the rose garden at the white house waiting to hear from president obama in about 15 minutes, at 11:30 eastern. we will have it live for you here on c-span 3 and c-span radio. former texas governor, rick perry, turned the ruling into a selling point. he says it's not up to the supreme court to knock down a law deeply unpopular among many in the gop, and he says, quote, we need leadership that understands a heavy handed one size fits all nothing does
nothing to help americans. and mike huckabee says congress misread what states would actually do, and a tweet from jeb bush this decision is not the end of the fight against obamacare, as i will work with congress to repeal and replace the aca. we wanted to show you what it looked like just over an hour ago when they announced the decisions on the steps of the supreme court. >> oh, my god. 6-3. >> obamacare wins, 6-3.
[ cheering ] the ruling of the supreme court, 6-3 upholding the subsidies in the 2010 health care law. we continue with your comments calls and reaction. from ohio, lorraine the democrat's line. >> caller: kapbglations to the president, god gave him a success against his haters and upheld his plan and victory to the poor and middle class. now that i just heard mitch mcconnell on there, from day one, mitch mcconnell acted out in disgust against obama. he still can't say a kind word about him.
>> kojo in alexandria. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. congratulations to the affordable care act, and second, i have a problem because it says that we are going to have a subsidy, and i am talking about my own experience as of last year i was not working and my wife was working, me and my son, the three of us were paying $165 a month, and yesterday we found out, they said and i asked why the increase to $250 and the gentleman who we spoke to said your increase because i am working now and so we don't
qualify for any subsidies, so we are going to pay $500 in one month, and so why would they have it jump from $165 to $500 and something in a month? >> we will hear from mallory from texas on the republican line. >> caller: i am calling primarily because there was a democrat that called in this morning, happy about the supreme court's decision on obamacare, and they said it's time for republicans to shut up. well republicans are not going to shut up, and i am calling to let him know that. what i find is that democrats think that conservatives and republicans are enemies of the country, enemies mind you, enemies! republicans are not the enemies of the country republicans are
the ones trying to save this republic from the way the country is declining, and it's declining on the basis of democrat and progressive policies. i heard some lady said republican have nothing to say about obama and she is unhappy about that. well, tough obama's policies are lousy and destructive and they will do all kinds of destruction to their country, and to the liberties that we have. one of the problems with the supreme court decision today on obamacare is it begins -- it continues the erosion of the rule of law, when they take language that is clear, say that it instead is ambiguous, and the supreme court itself becomes an agent of the destruction of the rule of law in this country. when the rule of law goes, we have no liberties any longer.
i heard minority leader harry reid again, talking about how insurance doesn't cover preexisting conditions. his purpose is to make sure the republican -- the citizens remain ignorant. insurance covers a risk that has not happened. a preexisting condition has already happened. >> the views of mallory in texas. hillary clinton, democratic presidential candidate releasing a statement. she said -- she tweeted the court auffirms what we know is true, health insurance should be affordable and available to all. we are here on c-span 3 and c-span radio. we are expecting the comments from the president at 11:30 eastern, and we will have that, and we will shortly be showing
you the oral argument from the king v. burwell case from the supreme court. you will find lots of resources online. you will see the oral arguments that wraps up on monday. we showed you reaction from mitch mcconnell and from harry reid. let's hear what senator lindsay graham, just announced as a presidential candidate in the last couple weeks what he had to say about the ruling. >> i am surprised and disappointed and the ruling is in and senator mcconnell said it well this doesn't mean obamacare is fixed and it means it's going to continue until somebody finds a better way or we are going to be left with obamacare for the rest of our lives and your children's lives and those that follow.
2016 race will be centered on the domestic care. here is what this supreme court ruling means. if the public wants to continue obamacare, which i think would be a huge mistake, vote democrat. if you want to repeal and replace obamacare with something better for you and your family bipartisan, vote republican. hillary clinton, the most likely democratic nominee, will make obamacare her own. whoever the republican party may nominate, the one thing i can assure you is that they will repeal and replace obamacare with something better. so to the people of the united
states, you finally have a chance to have your say. this election in 2016 for the house and the senate and the white house will give you a chance to stop obamacare and replace it with something better for you and your children. take advantage of this opportunity. because if we fail to have the people in place in 2016, to change course, obamacare becomes cemented in terms of the american health care system and our economic future, and i think it would be a mistake for the ages. >> the house and senate in session today. look for more reaction from the house. c-span and c-span 2, and you are on c-span 3 and radio. reaction continues to the 6-3
decision upholding the subsidies for obamacare. back to calls from washington, d.c. and lisa on the others line. >> caller: i appreciate you taking my call because i get nervous when i call and listen to the other callers, but i don't call in a lot so i appreciate that. >> sure. >> caller: rather than repeating a lot of -- yes i did call on the independent line, but clearly i kind of bend towards democratic but i do appreciate the articulateness with which the republicans and some of the opposers try to conduct themselves and make clear a message, but i think two of the most important things that i never realized would be so important for me to feel like i need to call in but i think it is absolutely, number one, this was just mentioned really briefly after the case was heard and stuff, that the supreme court justices are clearly not
only astute but the amount of chaos that would have been created had they ruled against it. most people calling in whether they are in favor or not in favor, because a lot of it is informed, people are receiving the subsidies already or unfortunately may not be as the case may be when you hear from some individuals' unfortunate stories, and the amount of chaos and anarchy that would have been created if they ruled against it in terms of now immediately just making everything that has taken place so far obsolete. like yesterday everybody was in place who had the subsidies and today they wouldn't have it, and i think people are absolutely forgetting the amount of chaos that would have been created had they ruled against it. >> thank you for your call, lisa. we are waiting for the president and reaction from capitol hill continues in terms of legislative responses.
weighs and means chair paul ryan, tweets the weighs and committee means chair says this committee will continue its work to advance an alternative to finally repeal and replace obamacare. obama at the white house and we continue with your comments. homewood, illinois. dave welcome. >> caller: i am a little dismayed at the decision but i can't say i am that shocked. this is the same court that called a penalty for not calling the penalty for not buy ging the insurance a tax, and so there's great ill lit raw tea going on in the court. the aca intends to improve the health care market and not destroy it.
well i think with anybody that has a passing knowledge of economics could have predicted what is happening and it's destroying any resepl pwhrus of a market and replacing it with government bureaucracies and government control, and i would call this a form of fascism and it's textbook definition of fascism, so i can't see how anybody is saying this is improving the market, and i think it's intended in the short term to allow the insurance companies -- the insurance companies did write a lot of obamacare, so they are kind of getting their way, and in the long term i think this is going to create so much chaos that they are going to say well in order to fix this the only way to move forward is to have single payer which means government-controlled -- fully government-controlled health care and this is where this is going. we are going to hear from
president obama here in the garden. to houston, texas, miles. go ahead. >> caller: it's mills, not miles. my father came to this country in 1929 because he saw and he said he saw the democrats save this country. now, of course, the republicans are trying to tear it down. i see no point to this. they would dare to cut down the insurance for everybody. this is crazy. >> the supreme court's decision writes, the associated press,
the subsidies to make health insurance affordable does not depend on where they live under the 2010 health care law. judge roberts was a key vote that upheld the law in 2012. and looking live at the rose house on the right and the supreme court steps to the left. vincent from connecticut, your thoughts. >> caller: thank you for taking the call. i am just listening to a lot of comments on both sides, and to me it's -- it's mass madness that we would talk about -- one thing i am good at and not political, but one thing i am good at is arithmetic, and unless the grammar school i went was wrong we spent more money
on iraq and we could pay for every woman and child to have great insurance in this con tree, and this is madness. all this does is detract from the real truth which is what i just said, we spend more money over in iraq giving it to haliburton in one month that could pay for everybody's insurance and all because the iraqi women shouldn't wear lipstick. your thoughts as we wait to hear from president obama go ahead, jane. >> caller: good morning. is it still morning there? i just wanted to say i don't think that this has anything to do with who put it in there and who didn't what it has to do -- first i am a constitutional scholars. the first decision by the supreme court is just like this one.
it's a congressional issue. if we voted for the people and they put it in there and we don't like it, we need to vote them out just like we did in the last two congressional sessions. >> jane sounds like you would agree from what we heard from lindsay graham, the south carolina senator that health care will be the number one domestic issue in the 2016 elections? >> yes, i do. for the people that have been affected by this, it is devastating. but you know what, let the voter take care of it and not be fooled. furthermore, if they had repealed it which i knew they were not going to do, that's not a supreme court issue that's a congressional issue and that's what they said. anything they said beyond that -- >> we will let you go, jane, here comes president obama and the vice president live here on c-span3 and c-span radio. >> good morning, everybody. have a seat.
five years ago after nearly a century of talk decades of trying, a year of bipartisan debate, we finally declared that in america health care is not a privilege for a few but a right for all. over those five years, as we have worked to implement the affordable care act there have been successes and setbacks. the setbacks i remember clearly. but as the dust has settled, there could be no doubt that this law is working. it has changed and in some cases saved americans lives. it set this country on a smarter and stronger course, and today after more than 50 votes in congress to repeal or weaken this law, after a presidential election based in part on
preserving or repealing this law, after multiple challenges to this law before the supreme court, the affordable care act is here to stay. this morning the court upheld a critical part of this law, the part that has made it easier for americans to afford health insurance regardless of where you live. if the partisan challenge to this law had succeeded millions of americans would have had thousands of dollars worth of tax credits taken from them. for many insurance would have become unaffordable again and many would have become uninsured again, and everybody's premium's could have gone up. america would have gone backwards. that's not what we do. that's not what america does. we move forward. so today is a victory for hard-working americans all across this country whose lives will continue to become more secure in a changing economy because of this law.
if you are a parent, you can keep your kids on your plan until they are 26 something that has covered millions of people so far, and that's because of this law. if you are a senior, or an american with a disability, this law gives you discounts on your prescriptions, something that has saved 9 million americans an average of $1,600 so far. if you are a woman you can't be charged more than anybody else. even if you had cancer or your husband had heart disease or just because you are a woman. your insurer has to offer preventive services like mammograms and can't place caps on your care because of this law. because of this law, and because of today's decision, millions of americans who i hear from every single day will continue to receive the tax credits that have given about 8 in 10 people
who buy insurance on the new marketplace the choice of a health care plan that costs less than $100 a month. when it comes to preexisting conditions, some day our grandkids will ask us if there was really a time when america discriminated against people who get sick because that is something that this law has ended for good. that affects everybody with health insurance, not just folks who got insurance through the affordable care act. all of america has protections it didn't have before. as the law's provisions gradually taken affect, more than 16 million uninsured americans have gained coverage so far nearly 1 in 3 americans that were uninsured a few years ago is insured today. the insured rate in america is the lowest since we began to keep records and that is something we can all be proud of.
meanwhile, the law has helped hold the price of health care to its slowest growth in 50 years. if your family gets insurance through your job, so you are not using the affordable care act, you are still paying about $1800 less per year on average than you would be if we had not done anything. what business owners pay out in wages and salaries is finally growing faster than what they spend on health insurance, and that has not happened in 17 years and it's good for workers and the economy. the point is this is not an abstract thing anymore. this is not a set of political talking points. this is reality. we can see how it's working. this law is working exactly as it is supposed to.
in many ways, this law is working better than we expected it to, for all the miss information campaigns and all the doomsday prediction and the talk of death panels and job destruction and the repeal attempts, this law is now helping tens of millions of americans. they have told me that it has changed their lives for the better. i have had moms come up and say my son was able to see a doctor and get diagnosed and catch a tumor early and he is alive today because of this law. this law is working. and it's going to keep doing just that. five years in and this is no longer about a law this is not about the affordable care act,
as legislation or obamacare as a political football this is health care in america. unlike social security or medicare, a lot of americans still don't know what obamacare is beyond all the political noise in washington. across the country there remain people who are directly benefiting from the law but don't even know it. and that's okay. there is no card that says obamacare when you enroll. but that's by design, for this has never been a government takeover of health care despite cries to the contrary this reform remains what it has always been, a set of rules and regulations that make health care more affordable and attainable and more about you, the consumer the american people. it's working.
with this case behind us let's be clear, we still have work to make health care in america even better, and we will keep working to provide consumers with the tools that you need to make choices about your care and we will keep working to increase the use of preventive care that avoids bigger problems down the road, and we will keep working to boost the quality of care in hospitals, bring down costs even lower, make the system work even better, and already we have seen reductions for example in the number of readmissions of hospitals, and that saves our society money and saves families money, and makes people healthier. we are making progress. we are going to keep working to get more people covered. i am going to work as hard as i can to convince governors to
take advantage of the law and put politics aside and expand medicaid and cover their citizens. we still have states out there that for political reasons are not covering millions of people they could be covering despite the fact that the federal government is picking up tab. so we have got more work to do, but what we are not going to do is unravel what has now been woven into the fabric of america. my greatest hope is that rather than keep refighting battles that have been settles again and again and again i can work with republicans and democrats to move forward. let's join together make health care in america even better. three generations ago we chose to end an era when seniors were
left to lang wish in poverty. we passed social security and slowly it was woven into the fabric of america and made a difference in lives of millions of people. two decades ago, we chose to change an era when medicare was passed and it helped millions of people. this generation of americans chose to finish the job, to turn the page on a past when our citizens can be denied coverage just for being sick to close the books on history where tens of millions of americans had no hope of finding decent affordable health care and had to hang their chances on fate. we chose to write a new chapter where in a new economy americans are free to change their jobs or start a business, chase a new idea, raise a family free from
fear secure in the knowledge that portable affordable health care is there for us and always will be and that if we get sick we're not going to lose our home, that if we get sick that we are going to be able to still look after our families. that's when that america soars, when we look out for one another, when we take care of each other, when we root for one another's success, when we strive to do better and to be better than the generation that came before us, and try to build something better for generations to come. that's why we do what we do. that's the whole point of public service.
so this was a good day for america. let's get back to work. [ applause ] president obama speaking to reporters and others gathered in the rose garden reflecting on the decision today by the supreme court, a 6-3 decision upholding the federal subsidies under the 2010 health care law, the subsidies for states using the federal exchange upheld by the supreme court in the 6-3 decision, and here is what that decision looked like in terms of the breakout of the justices led by chief justice roberts.
in the minority and reading the descenting opinion was justice scalia, and thomas. we continue to get your reaction to the decision today. we hope momentarily to be able to show you the comments from house speaker, john boehner, who is wrapping up his briefing on capitol hill. call if you would like to make comments. facebook.com/cspan and c-span on twitter. we will show you the actual oral argument from march of this year. dallas,texas daphne is on our
democrats line. >> caller: thank you, and thank you for taking my call. i just want to say i am a democrat but i will even be fair enough to say there was once a time when you could understand the republicans' argument. today i don't even get them. it's a joke, actually. i am not trying to be you know insulting, but there was once a time when you could understand where republicans were going. now i don't have a clue. first and foremost, the gentleman that called before me that spoke about knowing something about math mathics mathematics, and he was dead on, and all of the money that went into haliburton could cover all of the people as far as insurance goes. the point i want to make to
republicans, you talk about replace and repeal, and if you are going to replace it with something, why aren't you laying it out. i haven't heard anything from them that would indicate they have a better health care plan. >> that's elliott angle of new york on your screen speaking. >> caller: hello, i am disappointed in the decision. i can't believe we live in a country where, first of all affordable care act passed and it forced people to buy a product against their will and it's not american and not in the constitution and i don't know how the democrats passed that law with their stance on abortion, and women have a right to choose to kill their babies but women and men can't choose to buy health care, and it seems silly to me, and there are several solutions on the table and have been forever, buying
insurance overstate lines for competition, and people republicans that is so false. she needs to wake up and pay attention to what's going on. thank you. >> we'll listen in here and see what we can hear the conversation with eliot engel, the congressman from new york. >> i want to see all americans have affordable health care. and that's what we believe this bill does. is it a perfect bill? no it is not. it needs to be tweaked and changed and continue with -- yes. >> outside the supreme court that's eliot engel. a pretty loud scene outside. inside the court has wrapped up its decision making. we look at the supreme court art
artist and a look at the dissenting opinion being read by justice antonin scalia. part of what he had to say, scalia summarized from the bench his dissent to the supreme court. the supreme court ruling to uphold the nationwide tax subsidies. "we should start calling this law scotus care." they use the acronym for supreme court. his colleagues have twice stepped in to save the law from what scalia called worthy challenges. back to your comments and reaction. to rodney in hammond. >> caller: as of today, i did not have insurance for 18 months on the sad fact the indiana initiative is a complete fraud. it stems from --
covering up wire fraud and i'm still made to suffer. i wourld ask anybody where do i get my subsidies at. i haven't been offered any subsidies and meanwhile there's a criminal case where they are basically going to charge me for malice on fraud that the department of -- department of defense with indiana and -- have created. i would like to know where i stand. i haven't had health insurance for 18 months and i've got pressing medical issues. basically, i need help. i still lose regardless. >> here's reaction from indiana's governor mike pence, who tweeted scotus ruling in king v.burwell is profoundly disappointing to me and every
hoosier. chief justice john roberts gets it right. congress passed the affordable care act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. speaker boehner obamacare is fundamentally broken. retweet if you agree. the speaker just wrapped up his comments on capitol hill on the ruling by the supreme court and other issues. here's a look at that. >> with today's scotus ruling you are faced with the choice of reck sillonciliation or to try and repeal the aca. one, do you still intend to do that and are you convinced the -- it will not increased the uninsured? >> there's been no decision how to use reconciliation for. the problem with obamacare is still fundamentally the same. the law is broken. it's raising costs for american families. it's raising costs for small
businesses. and it's fundamentally broken. and we're going to continue our efforts to do everything we can to put the american people back in charge of their own health care, not the federal government. >> speaker erer boehner his comments from a short time ago. also comments from leader pelosi. interested in your thoughts. we'll take about five more minutes of calls and comments. we'll show you the oral argument in a little bit. 6 million will continue to have coverage, will not have to use expensive emergency room visits as their primary health care. our courts do not rule on the letter of the law but politics and special interests. and mark says activists court the supreme court is now writing laws and amending existing ones.
lots more comments available at facebook.com/cspan. to highland park, michigan democrats line. >> caller: thank you for allowing me to call. my comment is real quick. one of the callers was talking about the amount of money the government spends on defending the country. we can't cover our citizens. it's kind of sad the amount of money that has been wasted in these two wars, up to $2 trillion. to the republican who said they have ideas then how come they did not try to implement some of the ideas when they started the law. the aca law. and i'm just curious as to how can we as a nation figure out -- take some funding from parts of the defense contractors. some of that money that's been
wasted and put it in for health care? of course you have to watch and make sure that the money that's being wasted in the health care system, but it seems like to me it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out there's money out there that can be covered for our citizens. that's my comment. >> this is new jersey next up. we hear from john on our others line. >> caller: i have a couple comments. i strongly disagree with the supreme court. i live in a town where everyone -- the single family home, everyone has mortgages, second mortgage car payments kids are in school. none of these politicians bring up the fact that most of us are -- considered working poor. every dime we have that comes in, goes out. and now they turn around and lay this health care on me. my health care has gone up at
least 35%. our deductibles went up to $10,000 a year. we don't get subsidies because we make $100,000 a year? you live in this town, anywhere around new jersey you can't afford to live at $100,000 a year. it will bring up everyone who is here illegally who is covered by health insurance. all they have to do is go to the hospital. i can't go to the hospital. >> all right john. a couple more minutes of your calls. live video from the supreme court. one of the outstanding cases is the same-sex marriage case on whether states have to recognize same-sex marriage. that decision has not come down. today's decision on the affordable care act has come down. 6-3. upholding the subsidies. @cspan is our twitter handle.
obamacare will be repealed in 2012. the government is supreme. individuals have no rights not granted by government. steve says gop congressional members are whining about the king decision. every day is a good day when hate loses. and one more two from georgia who says happy the supreme court decided in king v.burwell. shame on florida for not closing the coverage gap. what do you think? >> caller: my comment has to do that i'm a working person and i work 80 hours a week making less than $21,000 a year. they are forgetting about the people that fall through the cracks who either have to afford health care or food. the thing that's really going to hurt our country that he never spoke up and said medicare is paid by the working people. once the working people discover that the people that aren't working are getting all the
health care our workforce is going to continue to decline at a fast rate. if you can cut down your hours of work and get free medicaid. i'd make $200 more a year otherwise i would qualify. so it's better to quit working and let the government take care of our health care. >> sun valley, nevada jay, welcome on our democrats line. >> caller: thank you for having me on. 6 million people have coverage that were almost not going to have any coverage. it is a fact the republican party has nothing to fill the spot with if it got canceled. they say they have things but yet they never put anything on the table. never bringing anything forward. and just like everything it's -- nothing is going to make 100% of the people happy.
and it's just the way that everything is. look at the republican governors that don't allow extended medicaid for their people. i mean, how do you not -- how do you deny your people who voted you in how do you deny them medicaid or medicare purposely? sign bills that don't extend it or don't allow this or that yet complain when an affordable care act is there to help people that never had health care coverage. >> let's get a couple more kwk calls. peter is on our democrats line. >> caller: it is a good day for america and a good day for americans. even some who don't know it. those who are saying this is the supreme court making a mistake, this is a ruling that is entirely consistent with prior rulings of the court. they did not let four words overcome the past history of the
court in saying that the intent of the law must rule against four words that would be ambiguous. it's a very, very good day for the nation. and the president and the american people. >> here's desoto, texas. ben on the others line. >> caller: yeah, hey. it's really interesting hearing all the calls. i have some similarities with all these, but the one fundamental thing that nobody is talking about is that the entire reason that so many people couldn't get health care is because there's a law on the books regulating insurance that the insurance companies i'm sure lobbied to get in there which says unaffiliated people can't form a group. so that you and i, for instance, can't join a group because we're not paid out of the same pay center and that keeps us from collective bargaining and that keeps us from being able to form
groups with small businesses or self-employed people and leads us basically to just pay in the market the highest premiums possible. so until that law is repealed there really isn't going to be structure change and insurance laws. >> the supreme court ruled 6-3 in king v. burwell that the subsidies are legal under the 2010 health care law. next up, we're going to show you the march 4th oral argument the court heard. it's about an hour and 20 minutes. our plan after that is to hear from you once again. here's the supreme court oral argument. >> oral argument this morning in case 14-114, king versus burwell. mr. carvin.
may it please the court. this is a statute of the statute that meets the court. >> will you please back up, before we get to a question of statutory construction, as you know, each plaintiff, or at least one plaintiff has to have a concrete stake in these questions. we can't put them as ideological questions. and we have four plaintiffs. as to two of them, and there is a declaration stating, i am not eligible for health insurance from the government. but there is a question of whether they are veterans eligible for coverage as veterans. >> yes. one of those is mr. hurst. i'd refer you to the joint appendix of page 42 where there is the government's recitation of facts where mr. hurst would have to spent his own money
because of his irs rule. mr. hurst was a veteran for 10 months in 1970. he is not eligible for any veterans service because if you serve such a short -- health services if you serve -- >> i'll ask the government if they agree. >> and i should point out the government has never disputed that. >> but the court has an obligation to look into it on its own. >> that's true but there has been fact finding in lower courts in an adversarial setting. >> i don't think it was brought up by a lower court. >> if i could make one further point on this justice ginsburg, even if you were technically eligible, which he is not, there san irs rule 26 cfr 1.36b2cii -- >> yes. >> -- with the usual clarity of the tax code macking clear that you are only disabled from receiving subsidies if you have actually enrolled in a veteran's health services and it is
undisputed that mr. hurst -- >> if that is the position, too. and then there are the two men, i think one of them was going to turn 65 in june which would make her medicaid eligible. >> she will turn 65 in late june. she's subject to the individual mandate. by virtue of the irs rule she would have to spend $1,800 per year for health insurance by virtue of the irs. >> excuse me. >> but she will turn 65 in june. >> late june. >> so that takes care of 2015. >> no, right now she is obliged under the individual mandate to have insurance. you have to have insurance for nine months of the year, and so as of april 1st, she will be subject to the penalty which will be alleviated only by -- >> i'll ask the government if they agree with you on that, and then for the fourth plaintiff there is a question whether she
would qualify for a hardship exemption from the individual mandate even if she received the tax credit, in which case the tax credits would be irrelevant. >> and again i refer you to the joint appendix. we didn't want to get into a factual dispute about it because we have such clear standing. >> yeah, but you would have to establish the standing, prove the standing. if this gets beyond the opening door. >> fair enough, your honor. but it is black-letter law that only one plaintiff needs standing and for the reasons i've already articulated both plaintiff hurst and -- >> i don't want to detain you on this anymore, but i will ask the government what their position is. >> with regard to the merits the only provision in the act that authorizes or limited subsidies says in plain english
that the subsidies are established only section 1311. >> if you are going to elaborate on that, i would appreciate in your elaboration, i read that, and this statute is like the tax code, more than its likely constitution. there are defined terms, and the words you just used concern a defined term. now as i read the definition, there is a section of definitions, and it says, quote, the term exchange means, quote, an exchange established under 1311. and 1311 says an exchange shall be a government agency, et cetera, that is established by a state. those are the definitions. so then you look to 1321. and 1321 says if a state does not set up that exchange, then
the federal, quote, secretary shall establish and operate such exchange. so it says the secretary is to establish and operate such exchange. the only kind of exchange to which the act refers, which is, quote, an exchange established by a state under 1311. that is the definition. so the statute tells the secretary, set up such exchange. namely, a 1311 state exchange. and there is nothing else in this statute. >> correct. >> so that is throughout what they're talking about. so what is the problem? >> as your honor just said, it tells the secretary to establish such exchange. and what 36b turned on is whether the state or the
secretary is established. >> no, it uses the same terminology that is used 15 times in this statute, namely, the terminology and the definition is an exchange established by a state. that's the phrase. >> well, under 1311 that is the phrase, and if 1311 -- if the definition section created ambiguity as to whether hhs was establishing a 1311 or 1321 exchange, that is immaterial because 36b does not say all 1311 exchanges get subsidies. it said exchanges established by the state under 1311 not established by the state under section 1311 so it eliminates any potential ambiguity created by the section. >> mr. carvin, can i give you an example of a simple life equivalent to what the sections say here to what justice breyer
was talking about. i have three clerks. their names are will, elizabeth and amanda. my first clerk, i say, will, write me a memo. and i say elizabeth, edit will's memo once it is done. and i say, amanda, if will is too busy to write the memo, i want you to write such memo. now my question is, if will is too busy to write the memo and amanda has to write such memo, should elizabeth edit the memo? >> if you are going to create monies to will for writing the memo and amanda writes the memo and you say the money will go if will writes the memo and under plain english and common sense, then no. >> you run a different shop than i do if that's the way. because in my chambers if elizabeth did not edit the memo,
elizabeth would not be performing her function. in other words, there is a substitute, and i've set up a substitute. and i've given instructions. elizabeth, you write -- you edit will's memo, but if amanda writes the memo, the instructions carry over. elizabeth knows what she is supposed to do. she's supposed to edit amanda's memo too. >> in your chambers you are agnostic as to whether will or amanda writes it. but the key is under section 1311 congress was not agnostic as to whether states or hhs establish the exchange. >> and well mr. carvin, if i had those clerks, the same clerks, and amanda wrote the memo, and i received it, and i said, this is a great memo, who wrote it? would the answer be, it was written by will? because amanda stepped into
will's shoes? i'm going to the second answer which is you were agnostic as to will and amanda, but congress is not agnostic as between state and federal exchanges. >> that is a very important point because what you are saying is the answer to the question really does depend on context, and it depends on an understanding of the law as a whole and whether they were agnostic. i agree with that. so it is not the simple four or five words because the four or five words in my example, it is obvious that elizabeth should edit the memo. it is the context that suggest whether those instructions carry over to the substitute, isn't it? >> we implore you to examine these words in the context of the act as a whole because our argument becomes stronger for five reasons. to respond to justice breyer's
point, he said such exchange connotes that it is the same person doing it, but look at the provision on territorial exchanges. it says territories can establish such exchanges, and then it says and shall be treated as a state. >> yes, it does. it is not a question of connotation, it's a question of denotation. what does that mean? it means that the federal government, the secretary, is establishing a thing for the state. and what is the thing? the thing that it is establishing for the state is defined as, an exchange established by the state. a person from mars, who is literal, which i usually am not. but a literalist would have to read it that way.
but if you are not a literalist, you could read it that way. and if you want to go into the context, at that point it seems your argument is weaker. do the exchanges fall apart, nobody can buy anything on them. you know the arguments. you've read the briefs. there are no customers. employers don't have to pay penalties as long as they use just people from virginia but one maryland person comes. you know the arguments. how does the context support you. >> again under the literalist and the nonliteralist interpretation saying that hhs will establish such exchange doesn't mean the state has established such an exchange if the -- if i could finish my answer to justice breyer, look at a parallel provision, using precisely the same language and they said, and shall be treated as a state. language omitted from 1321 and a basic principal of statutory construction then you interpret the same phrases the same way
and shows that congress knew had you to create equivalence between nonstate exchanges and exchanges if and when it wanted to. sorry, justice sotomayor. >> take a breath. i'm a little concerned with how you envision this provision working. you're saying that the hhs exchange can't be for the state so that is established by the choice of the state. the choice the state had was establish your own exchange, or let the federal government establish it for you. that was the choice. if we read it the way you are saying, then we're going to read a statute as intruding on the federal/state relationship because then the states are going to be coerced into establishing their own
exchanges. and you say, oh, no, they can't be coerced. but let's go back to what justice breyer was talking about. in those states that don't -- their citizens don't receive subsidies, we're going to have the death spiral that this system was created to avoid. states are obligated, insurers are obligated to make sure in their states, whether they are part of this program or not, that they have guaranteed coverage, that -- that children are covered until they are 26, and that they base their costs on community ratings. so if they have to do that, then costs are going to rise on every insurance -- every insurance plan offered in the country, in
those 34 states. three or six -- or nine of your states will have tightened their medicaid eligibility requirements in contravention of the act. so they are taking money by breaking their compacts. they would have to lose all of their medicaid money. tell me how that is not coercive in an unconstitutional way? and if it is coercive in an unconstitutional way, in bond -- i think it was last term, we said that is a primary statutory command, that we read a statute in a way where we don't impinge on the basic federal/state relationship. >> this court has never suggested outside the very unusual coercion context of the medicaid that a funding
condition somehow invades a state police power. >> well, we said it last year. >> no, in bond. there the federal government was taking away a police power. here the federal government is doing the same thing. you want billions of free federal dollars. and it is the sovereignty and the kind of funding decision this court has held several times. >> let me say from the dynamics of federalism, it does seem there is something powerful to the point that if your argument is accepted, the states are being told either create your own exchange, or we'll send your insurance market into a death spiral and have people pay mandated taxes which will not get any credit on the subsidies, cost of insurance will be sky high, but this is not coercion. it seems under your argument, perhaps you would prevail in the
plain words of the statute, there is a serious constitutional problem if we adopt your argument. >> two points. number one, the government has never made that argument. what i'm trying to convey is if this was unconstitutional then the medicaid statute this court approved in nfib would be unconstitutional. >> what would the results of unconstitutionality be? sometimes it can be interpreted one way or another way. if interpreting it one way is unconstitutional, you interpret it the other way. >> correct. >> do we have any case that says when there is a core provision if it is unconstitutional we can rewrite that?
is there any case that we have that says that? >> no, your honor. >> of course. >> think about the consequences of the medicaid being coercive. 22 states said no to the medicaid deal. that created a bizarre anomaly in the law. if people making less than the poverty line -- >> i fully understand that. but i think the court and the counsel for both sides should confront the proposition that your argument raises a serious constitutional question. i'm not sure that the government would agree with that. but it is in the background of how we interpret this statute. it may well be that you are correct as to these words and there's nothing we can do. i understand that. >> a., there is no saving construction to echo justice scalia's point. but the point i want to make, if this is unconstitutional, then all of the provisions in the code if you do something for no child left behind then you
will -- >> in south carolina versus dole, where the funding for the highway, congress said if you don't build the highways, you have to go 35 miles per hour all over the state. we wouldn't allow that. >> no. well, there of course you would be interfering with a basic state prerogative as to establish their limits and the condition is not related to that. here the condition is perfectly related. because if you want to create -- >> mr. carvin, you were referring to the medicaid example. here is the federal money. here are the conditions. take it or leave it. that is one pattern. but this pattern that we have says flexible state. you can have your program if you want it. and if you don't, there is a fallback, the federal program. that is the typical pattern.
it is the pattern of the cool air act. you can have a state plan, but if you don't take that plan, there is a federal implementation plan. but i never seen anything like this where if you take what the statute says, you can have it in 1321, then you get these disastrous consequences. >> that is why this is much less risky a deal for congress and what distinguishes it from medicaid as the dissenting opinion in nfib pointed out. in medicaid, congress is playing all in, if you take the deal. then medicaid is thwarted. here if they turn down the subsidy deal, they still get the valuable benefits of an exchange. >> what are those benefits to the customers that can buy on it? or the insurers that can sell on it? >> three points. well we know textually they
thought exchanges without subsidies work because again they have territorial changes but the government concedes no subsidies. >> that is not what you said previously when you were here last time in this never-ending saga. you said without the subsidies driving demand within the exchanges, insurance companies would have absolutely no reason to offer their products through exchanges. and then you said, the insurance exchanges cannot operate as intended by congress absent the subsidies. >> that is true. they cannot operate as intended. because congress intended all 50 states to take this deal. >> so why create 1326 as all? obviously they thought some states wouldn't. >> because they set up a mechanism for that to happen. >> and what happened? you still get the exchange. it is not like medicaid where the entire federal program is thwarted. >> no one will visit the program
if there are no subsidies because not enough people will buy the programs to stay in the exchanges. >> that is demonstrably untrue and not reflected anywhere in the legislative history and the legislative history contradicts that. and many senators got up and said there are many benefits to the exchanges. one-stop shopping like amazon. as president obama said. the president said these two operate quite independently. we don't need exchange without subsidies. in contrast, there's not a scintilla of legislative history that without subsidies there will be a death spiral. >> wait a minute. that was the whole purpose that drove this bill. because states had experimented with this, and those that didn't have subsidies or other provisions of the act didn't survive. you said it yourself in the prior case.
>> no. the prior case was about the individual mandate. the government came in and said the individual mandate is necessary to effect death spirals. no one in the findings in congress or anywhere else suggested that subsidies were available. >> my problem is with the reverse. you're talking about congress hiding borrowing the phrase of one of my colleagues. a huge thing in a mouse trap, okay? because do you really believe that states fully understood they were not going to get their -- their citizens were not going to get subsidies if they let the federal government. what senator said that during the hearing? >> the same amount that said subsidies were available on hhs exchanges, which is none. they didn't deal with it in the legislative history just as they didn't deal with medicaid because the statute was quite clear. let's talk about it in context
again, justice sotomayor. the only provisions in the act establishing any limits is found in 36b, so it is not the mouse hole you exact to find it, it is the only place in the act that -- >> justice ginsburg? >> it's a tax code. it tells you how you compute the individual amount. it's not in the body of the legislation where you would expect to find this. >> no. your honor if that is true -- >> but justice kagan just read to you, you had the idea that the subsidies were essential. to have the thing work. that's what you told us last time. >> what i told you is it wouldn't work as expected because they thought this deal would work just like the medicaid deal where all 50 states would say yes so you would have both --
>> why would they set it up if they didn't think anybody was going to take it? >> well, that was my response to justice sotomayor. that is empirical stipulation made by legislative history and indeed the legislative history imputes. >> mr. carvin, we've heard talk about this other case. did you win that other case? so maybe it makes sense you have a different story today? >> i'm really glad your honor said that. and if i could return to context -- >> i'm sorry, mr. carvin, please. >> just briefly, justice kagan. very much appreciate it. to respond. we've already talked about context. section 1311 says in the strongest possible terms we want states to run these exchanges. if you give unconditional subsidies, there is no incentive for the states to do it and you
have fundamentally undermined that statutory purpose but if you give it widespread subsidies plus state-run exchanges. in terms of art, again there is language in the statute which says, exchanges -- exchanges under the act. those phrases naturally encompass both hhs exchanges and state-established exchanges, but the solicitor general is coming here to tell you that a rational english-speaking person contended to convey exchanges available on hhs use the exchanges establish by a state and he cannot provide to you any rational reason why somebody trying to convey the former would use the latter formulation. >> mr. carvin, why don't you take an extra ten minutes and we'll let you give -- give you an extra chance to talk. >> well, then let me ask you a question. >> if you're going to ruin my ten minutes.
>> let's go back to where congress put this thing. putting aside constitutional issues. there's a presumption that congress does not mean to impose heavy burdens and draconian choices on states unless it says so awfully clearly. and here and this goes back to what justice ginsburg was saying. there's really nothing clear about this. this took a year and a half for anyone to notice this language. as justice ginsburg said, it's put in not in the place you'd expect it to be put in which is where it says to the states, here's the choice you have. it is not even put in where the statute defines who a qualified individual is or who is entitled to get the subsidies. rather it comes in in this technical formula directed to the department of treasury saying how much the amount of the subsidy should be.
it seems to me, it makes no sense from congress' point of view, in terms of our own point of view and in sense of interpreting statutes that is not the clarity with which we require the government to speak when it is upsetting federal/state relations like this. >> i must respectfully disagree for three reasons, justice kagan. in the first place, where else would you expect a tax credit except in the tax code? it is the only place where exchange is limitation is placed. you have three audiences here. not just states. you have to tell taxpayers what they are entitled to. you have to tell insurance companies when the subsidies are available, and you have states. so you have to put it in 36b. so the argument i guess the state is make is you should have put half of it in 36b and half in 1321.
which would have confused everybody. 36b would have said exchanges period. and then go to 3121 and say when we said exchanges in 36b, we meant exchanges. >> if i were a state official and i was trying to decide whether my state should establish an exchange, and i wanted to know whether individuals who enrolled in a plan on my possible state-established exchange would get a credit, where would i look? >> exactly. the basic thesis here is these exchanges don't work without subsidies. you've read 1311 and 1321 and now you go find out where the subsidies are. that's 36b. they are hypothesizing -- >> i think not, mr. carvin. i think the place i would look to find my choices is in the provision of the statute that talks about my choices. i think the last place i would look is a provision of the statute that talks about what is
it, coverage months, for purposes of this subsection, which by the way isn't even the right subsection, but whatever. that is where i would look, is in where it talks about what a coverage month is? >> but, your honor, i've described the difficulties of putting part of it in 1321 because then you would create this bizarre tax credit provision which is only half true, and you wouldn't tell taxpayers and insurance companies. so i believe that is the complete answer. but the other practical point i would like to make is they had three years to implement this. and no one thought the states would have to make a decision overnight. if the irs had done its job, every state would have been fully informed of the consequences because presumably they've read 36b, and then make an intelligent decision about the deadline. and if the states were unable to read a statute or read a
regulation is simply -- >> i really want to hear what you are going to say in your five to ten minutes and if you want, only if you want, i would be interested in your response to the government's brief that if you read the words, established by the state, without reference to the technical definition, as you wish, this isn't just about the taxes. if employers in virginia don't have to make policy and don't have to give policies, but if they have one maryland worker, they do. it means they can never tighten up their medicaid regulations, never in 34 states, but of course, in the others they can. it means that there is no qualified person ever to buy anything on an exchange established by the secretary for the state. and they have two or other three anomalies that have nothing to do with taxes, all of which supports their argument that you
have to read this phrase technically according to the definition. now that is their basic point, i summarized this. do as you wish. i wanted you to have five or ten minutes to answer that. >> the first point is -- >> i'm going to clock that. >> the first point i would like to make is, there is no anomaly stemming from our interpretation of 36b. the government agrees with that. the biggest anomaly is the qualified individual point about how there would be nobody on hhs exchanges. the solicitor general is not going to stand up here and say if we prevail in our argument of 36b, they would be obliged to empty out hhs exchanges. so we all agree there is no connection between 36b and the qualified individual. that is point one. point two is, if you want anomalies, their interpretation of the statute requires 34 states today to lose all medicaid coverage. why is that? because of the provisions on 64a
through 66a of the government's brief. there are various requirements that the state, upon losing medicaid mundfunds, must coordinate through the state establishment for medicaid and chip for enrollment that makes perfect sense if established by the state means what it says. well the state cannot ensure coordination between hhs exchanges and the state agencies and none of the 34 are doing it today. so under their a textual reading of the statute, 34 states will suffer the results of what this court found. and nfib is unconstitutionally coercive. as to this anomaly the government agrees the purpose of the provision was to freeze medicaid until you have an exchange of subsidies which makes sense, because you want to
coordinate the two. and that is exactly what this means under our interpretation. until you have an exchange with subsidies the state will be frozen. it ended on 2014. it is nowhere in the statute. plus it makes no sense. before 2014, the states were powerless to have an exchange with subsidies. they couldn't do it. so there was a three-year freeze on medicaid they were powerless to get out of. after 2014, if they don't want to have their medicaid frozen all they had to do is create an exchange. it is less harsh on the states and gives them another reason to create an exchange which is enunciated in 1311. maybe somebody would -- if you have an employee that lived in another state, maybe you would be subject to the employer mandate. why is that an anomaly? congress wants the employer
mandate. of course they want to expand it. they never thought it would happen. what they thought would happen is there would be neighboring states because nobody would turn down this normally extraordinary deal. i don't know if my five minutes are up but that's my response. >> as i understand -- >> just -- >> you've been talking a long time. >> you have two more sentences. >> even if there were anomalies, in these other sections you don't transport them to 36b which is neither absurd and furthers the act. just because pollutants didn't work with one section, you don't spread it like a virus throughout the rest of the act. that was a long sentence. >> yes. i think justice breyer's
question about anomalies which are replete in the act under your interpretation did not talk about what i think is one of the most glaring ones, which is this qualified individuals thing. you are setting up a system in which the federal exchanges, that there will be no customers and in fact there will be no products because section 1311 said the exchange shall make health plans available to qualified individuals. and the next section said qualified individual is someone who resides the state that established the exchange. so in your theory if -- theory if someone doesn't qualify, that means federal exchanges have no customers. >> which is not the reading that the government is giving to it because they are not going to tell you. >> that is because they don't share your theory. in your theory, that is the result. >> let me be as clear as i can. if we prevail in this case, they are not going to empty out the
hhs exchanges because they understand there are numerous defenses established by the state in the qualified individuals statement. number one, it says you have to be a qualified individual with respect to an exchange. as justice breyer pointed out, the statutory definition of exchange is a 1311 exchange. so they are only talking about state exchanges, not the hhs exchanges, and it is in section 1312 which immediately follows 1311, before 1321. number two, qualified individual doesn't mean that -- that means you're guaranteed access. it doesn't mean if you aren't qualified you are absolutely denied access. we know that from illegal alien provision. it says they are not qualified nor eligible for subsidy. >> but look at the prison provision which said prisoners shouldn't be treated as
qualified individuals so under your theory this statute effectively said that prisoners should be allowed to enroll on federal exchanges. that makes no sense? >> it makes perfect sense to say the states get a choice. think about somebody in prison in february. they are getting out in april. they have to buy insurance under the individual mandate. if you said nobody who is incarcerated can buy insurance that means they wouldn't be able to buy insurance during the relevant enrollment period. it gives states to decide, as for those incarcerated individuals, they can be eligible but for illegal aliens, they are neither qualified nor eligible. even if you don't find that most pristine logic applied to the statute, remember we are interpreting thesis these statutes to avoid an absurd result. you should give a plausible, if not the most persuasive reading to a statute to avoid the
result. >> but you're interpreting a statute generally to make it make sense as a whole. we look at the whole text. we don't look at four words. we look at the whole text, the particular content and the more general context and try to make everything harmonious with everything else. and i think you said even at the very beginning of the argument as we were going back and forth about my hypothetical, that of course, context matters and context might make all of the difference with respect to what the five words mean. and i think what we're suggesting is that if you look at the entire text you ought not treat those five words in the way they are. >> i've given you the context, but the key is section 1311. you say the statute must work harmoniously. if you provide subsidies to hhs exchanges, you have essentially gutted section 1311 strong preference for state exchanges. what will happen is precisely
what did happen under the irs rule. two-thirds of the state are saying, no, we're not going to undertake this thankless task of running the exchanges with no incentives to do so. so, yes, what i have here in terms of what the statute means is 36b is quite clearly saying exchanges are available only on states. i have 1311 explaining why they limited subsidies to that, and there is no contrary legislative history at all. what do they have? an atextual reading of 36b and they can't explain why anyone use those words if they can't explain it, and undermined the rules of 1311 and no supportively legislative history. so under the theory of what this statutory provision means, we clearly prevail. >> thank you, counsel. >> general verrilli, you'll have an extra ten minutes as well.
>> thank you, mr. chief justice. standing has been raised so let me start by telling you where we stand on standing and then i'd appreciate the opportunity to summarize what i think are the two key points in this case. with respect to standing, the question turns on whether any of the four petitioners are liable for the tax penalty for 2014. now, this case was litigated in the district court in 2013 based on projections on the part of each of the four petitioners that they would earn a certain income in 2014. they filed declarations saying that. with respect to two of the four the projections of their income were such that they would qualify for the unaffordable exemption and not have standing. with the other two, they wouldn't qualify for the unaffordability exception and they would have standing. but those were projections in 2013 about their income in 2014. 2014 has now come and gone and we know -- we don't know but the
petitioners know whether any of the four have, in fact -- are in fact liable for the tax penalty, and that would depend on whether their actual income in 2014 matched their projections. and mr. carvin said there was fact finding about that. that's not correct. the petitioners did file a motion for summary judgment but the case was decided on the government's motion to dismiss before discovery and without any fact finding. i'm assuming because mr. carvin has not said anything about the absence of a tax penalty, at least one of the four is in fact liable for a tax penalty but that is the key standing question. but in respect to the veteran, if that is the case that mr. hurst was only a veteran for ten months, then he would not qualify for v.a. health care because you generally have to serve for two years. >> are you saying one person does have standing? >> no, it would depend on
whether as a factual matter one of the four is liable for the tax penalty for 2014. and that's information that is not in the government's possession. it is in the possession of the petitioner's counsel and with respect to 2015, there were no provisions and nothing in the record about any of the income for the plaintiffs for 2015 so there's really nothing that would establish a case of controversy for 2014. >> you are not raising a standing question with us here for the first time at oral argument here, are you? >> chief justice, as i said, based on our projections, it is our understanding that one of the four would be liable for a tax penalty. the question is raised and i have to ask the relevant question, which is whether any one of the four is in fact liable for a tax penalty because this is -- this is on a motion to dismiss, right? >> that's correct but it does also go to this court's
jurisdiction. if none of the four are liable, it just isn't a case or controversy. none of them is liable. there's no injury. i do think that's the relevant question here with respect to standing. i don't think there is a question about veteran status but i think that is the question. >> isn't the question before us as to whether the district court correctly held in the motion to dismiss context that there was standing. that may not be the end of the matter, but don't we have to -- isn't that what's before us? >> well that may be -- yes. but -- and you might alternatively think about this in term of mootness, based on the projection. it didn't come to pass and none of the plaintiffs is not liable, then, are you? >> are you suggesting we have a trial here. find what the facts are? >> i did not raise standing
affirmatively. i'm just doing my best to let the court know what our standing is. >> would you send it back to the district court? >> no, i guess, mr. carvin hasn't suggested there is no plaintiff liable for a tax penalty. based on that i'm inferring one of the petitioners -- >> why wouldn't we accept a representation by him? >> there is no reason not to. >> if he makes a recommendation that one of the four was liable in 2014, and is liable in 20 -- or will be liable in 2015, i mean, we know at least one of them won't. >> what i'm saying about that is i'm going a step furthder than that, justice sotomayor. given that i'm willing to accept the absence of a representation as an indication there say case of controversy here. and that is why, mr. chief justice, we haven't raised
standing. but i do think the key question is whether one of the four is liable for a tax penalty. you have to have that to have a case of controversy. if i could now, let me please turn to the merits and summarize what i think are the key points. we apply to the applicable provisions and it makes a direct to 36b and they are reading to an act that doesn't work and second their reading forces hhs making exchanges due to failure and the promise of state flexibility and precipitates the insurance market death spiral the findings say the statute was designed to avoid and revokes the promise of affordable care for millions of americans. that cannot be the statute that congress intended. >> of course, it could be.
it may not be the statute they intended. the question is whether it is the statute that they wrote. i mean, there are no provisions in the statute that turn out to be ill-considered and ill-conceived. >> so it is not the statute they wrote, and the reason it is not the statute that they wrote -- i'm going to start, if i could, picking up i think on a variation of the hypothetical that justice kagan asked. in the brief they throw down the gaunt lent with a hypothetical about airports. the statute that requires the state to construct an airport and the federal government shall construct such airport if state doesn't and no one could think that the federal government's airport was an airport constructed by the state. and i would say if those statutory provisions were conjoined with a provision that say airports can only land at airports constructed by the state, you would conclude immediately that a federally constructed airport qualified as
an airport constructed by the state. otherwise the statute would make no sense. >> there are no statutes that make no sense. every statute must make sense, and we will -- we will twist the will twist the words as necessary to make it -- that can't be the rule. >> that isn't the rule. the rule is that you read -- you don't read statutory provisions in isolation. you read them in context. you read them to ensure the statute operates as harmonious whole. you read them to promote where there is balance -- >> you acknowledge that all of what you're saying only applies where there are alternative readings that are reasonable. you pick the one that will do all the -- >> and there is -- there is -- >> but but, if can only mean one thing, it will continue to mean one thing even if it has
un untward consequences, no? >> but the -- >> answer me in principle. is it not the case if the only reasonable interpretation of a particular provision produces disastrous consequences in the rest of the statute, it nonetheless means what it says. is that true or not? >> i think there are a couple of limitations on that principle. the first is if what you have is a situation in which the -- that equates conflict within a statutory scheme, then the court's got to do its best to harmonize and reconcile the provisions. >> well, i disagree with that. you have a single case in which we have said the provision is not ambiguous. it means this thing. but, lord that would make a terrible statute so we'll interpret it to mean something else. what case -- >> brown and williamson is a good example of that. the court said, look, the definition of drug and drug delivery device would seem
unambiguously to cover tobacco. when you read that provision in context and -- considering the full scope of the regulatory regime, it can't possibly mean that. let me actually work through the text here because i do think i can show you that there's a quite reasonable reading of this statutory text that allows you to affirm and requires you to affirm the government's position. >> before we get too immersed in a number of provisions of this, could you respond to a question that was asked during mr. mr. carvin's argument. if we adopt petitioner's argument of this act, is it constitutionally coerceivecoercive. >> here's what i would say about that, justice alito. it would certainly be a novel constitutional question and i think that i'm not prepared to say to the court today it is unconstitutional. it would be my duty to defend the statute and on authority of new york versus united states, i think we would do so. but i don't think there's any
doubt that it's a novel question. and if the court believes it's a serious question -- >> i was going to say, does novel mean difficult? because it does seem to me that if the petitioner's argument is correct, this is just not a rational choice for states to make and they're being coerced. and that you, then have to invoke the standard of constitutional avoidance. >> what i was going to say justice kennedy is to the extent the court believes this is a serious constitutional question and this does rise to the level of something approaching coercion i think the doctrine of constitutional aversion becomes another very powerful reason to read the statutory text our way. and with respect to the point your honor is making, it's not just a situation in which there's onerous conditions --
onerous for states it's a profound notice. if you read petitioner's -- if you take petitioner's reading of the statute, then the idea that states were given -- you can't possibly justify this as adequate notice to the states. >> let me ask you this about notice. we get lots of amicus briefs from states. we have 32 here. 34 are the number of states that declined to or failed to establish a state exchange. >> correct. >> now if they were all caught off guard and they were upset about this, you would expect them to file an amicus brief telling us that. but of the 34 only 6 of them signed the brief that was submitted by a number of states making that argument. 23 states 23 jurisdictions submitted that brief. 17 of them are states that
establish state exchanges. only six states that didn't establish state exchanges signed that brief. how do you account for that? >> i would make two points about that justice alito. first, you have 22 states there, states in both camps, all of whom told you they didn't understand the statute that way. with regard to the other eight states that filed the amicus brief. remember, this is an irs rule we're talking about here. the irs put out a notice of proposed rule-making saying this is what we intend to do and several of these states, oklahoma, indiana, nebraska, they filed rule-making comments in that proceeding. if you look at those rule-making comments, you will see they address a number of issues and they say nothing, nothing about the issue that's before the court now. if they really understood the statute as denying subsidies in states that did not set up their own exchanges, that would have been front and center in their rule-making comments and they
said nothing about it. everybody understood this statute -- >> there's another point on notice, on this pinterest argument that's curious to me. usually when this argument comes up, a state has signed up for a federal program and then they say, oh, my gosh, we didn't realize what we had gotten ourselves into. but here it's not too late for a state to establish an exchange. if we were to adopt petitioner's interpretation of the statute. going forward, there would be no harm. >> well, let me address that directly and then i'd like to make a broader point about statutory context in response. now, directly, of course, i don't think it's possible to say there will be no harm. the tax credits will be cut off immediately and you'll have very significantly, very adverse effects immediately for millions of people in many states -- >> i said going forward. after -- after the current tax year. >> would it not be possible if we were to adopt petitioner's
interpretation of the statute to stay the mandate until the end of this tax year as we have done in other cases where we have adopted an interpretation of the constitution or a statute, that would have very disruptive consequences such as the northern pipeline case. >> northern pipeline is an example of doing that. it would be up to the court to decide whether it has the authority to do that. i will say this does seem different than northern pipeline to me because this is amount of money going out of the federal treasury, which is a different scenario. if that's where the court is going and the court thinks that's a proper distribution -- but i think another point point to make as a practical matter. the idea that a number of states, or a significant number, are going to be able within the six months when a decision and this case comes out and when the new year for insurance purposes will begin will be able to set up exchanges, get them up and running and get all the approvals done i think is completely unrealistic.
>> how long is it taken? >> just to give you an idea of the current timeline, justice ginsberg, to have it approved and policies on the exchange ready for the 2016 year those approvals have to occur by may 2015. so, that gives you a sense of the timeline that hhs is operating under. >> what about congress, you really think congress is just going to sit there while all of these disastrous consequences ensue? how often do we have a decision and congress adjusts. happens all the time. why is that not going to happen here? >> well, this congress, your honor -- of course theoretically -- >> i don't care what congress you're talking about. if the consequences are as disastrous as you say, so many million people without -- without insurance and whatnot, yes, i think this congress would act. >> but the relevant question
and i'm going to try to get back to the point i was trying to make in response to justice alito's question, the relevant question here is what did the congress that enacted this statute in 2010 do? did they really set up a system in which the states are subject to the kind of onerous situation that the petitioner claims? first is the existence of the federal exchanges. it would make no sense no sense for congress to have provided for federal exchanges if, as mr. carven suggests, the statutory design is to result in every statutory -- >> well, wouldn't it have been, again, talking about federalism a mechanism for states to show they are concerns about the
wisdom and workability of the act in the form that it was passed? >> just kennedy, i think they're valued by our interpretation. if that is indeed, what a state thought f a state really would have preferred that -- not to have the state government participate in the implementation of those this act for reasons that your honor identified, the structure of the act that congress put in place and we're advocating for today, fully vindicates that concern. they can decide not to participate, without having any adverse consequences visited upon the citizens of the state. that's why our reading is the pro-federalism reading. it's their reading that seems to me is the anti-federalism reading. that's a powerful reason to reject it. if i could go to the second statutory point which is related to what we're talking about justice kennedy which is section 1321, says that this statute is