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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

 
I happen to have Ben Nelson for you right here ...

by digby

This would be funny if it weren't such a perfect illustration of how nuts the conservatives are:

The challengers in the latest Supreme Court battle over the Affordable Care Act point to former Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson as evidence of their claim that Congress intended that tax credits go only to qualified recipients in states that had established their own insurance exchanges.

Nelson, a Democratic holdout as Congress debated the bill, insisted that states take the lead in establishing the exchanges. And the challengers use that to support their theory that Congress was using the tax credits to induce states into establishing the exchanges, rather than having the federal government do it.

But Nelson, who announced his retirement in 2011, speaks for himself in a brief filed by Democratic congressional leaders and others.

“I always believed that tax credits should be available in all 50 states regardless of who built the exchange, and the final law also reflects that belief as well,” Nelson wrote in a letter to Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) who sought Nelson’s view.

The question of “what-does-Ben-Nelson-want” has always been a part of the ACA controversy. To win his vote in 2009, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered Nelson a deal that would give Nebraska full federal funding of a proposed Medicaid expansion indefinitely.

During the Supreme Court’s 2012 arguments over the constitutionality of what has become known as Obamacare, Justice Antonin Scalia mentioned the controversy over the “Cornhusker Kickback.” Scalia was apparently unaware that the deal had become so controversial that it was removed from the bill before passage.

The current Supreme Court case, King v. Burwell, which will be argued March 4, is different, but Nelson still figures prominently in the briefs.

It's impossible to believe that they would use Nelson's thoughts as part of their reasoning when the man is still alive and kicking and can testify to what he thought! Are they going to argue that he's lying? That's he's senile and doesn't know what he's saying? They'd have to. It's been central to the arguments they've presented to the court.

This case is daft from start to finish. But the fact that the Supremes even took such a looney case in the first place is why everyone is so nervous about it.


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