They started predicting that the Court would “cripple” Obamacare. But 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the law, so this didn’t exactly cause panic in streets. Next, they said that a ruling against the government could deprive many of taxpayer-funded insurance subsidies. The taxpayers were oddly unmoved. Now, they have resorted to claims so wild that even progressives will have trouble taking them seriously. Think Progress, for example, published a screed last week with the following title: “How King v. Burwell Threatens the Lives of Millions of Children.”
And DNC mouthpieces like Think Progress are by no means the only purveyors of such balderdash. The nominally independent Slate warns that “9,800 additional Americans will die each year” if the Court rules against the Obama administration. Even relatively respectable publications have joined this chorus. The Hill posted a story last Friday titled, “King v. Burwell will decide the Fate of Millions,” whose author solemnly warns that “the wrong outcome” would put “American lives in peril” and “erode some of the largest coverage expansions in decades.”
Those expansions are precisely the problem, of course. By issuing subsidies to people whose coverage was not purchased through exchanges established by a state, the IRS has illegally expanded Obamacare to millions whom Congress did not include among those entitled to subsidies. The Hill continues thus: “Turning the insurance market upside down… is not what Congress intended.” But the Supreme Court isn’t in the business of divining what Congress intended. Its job is to read the text of the law and decide which party to the lawsuit has correctly interpreted the words.