Here’s What Halbig v. Burwell’s All About in Seven Steps

Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck another blow to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ruling in Halbig v. Burwell that the federal government cannot provide subsidies to federal exchanges.  What exactly does that mean? Here’s a layman’s explanation in seven simple parts:

  1. The ACA mandates individuals and employers to purchase health insurance. More specifically, individuals must have health insurance by 2014, and employers with more than 50 full-time employees must provide health insurance by 2015 (although there’s a number of exceptions).
  2. To fulfill the mandate, the ACA created exchanges for individuals and employers to purchase “affordable” health insurance subsidized by the federal government. The exchanges serve as online marketplaces where individuals earning 100-400% of the federal poverty line are eligible for subsidies in order to put the “Affordable” in “Affordable Care Act.”
  3. The ACA gave states the option of creating a state-administered exchange or defer to the federal government to create one. 17 states opted to run their own, 27 decided to defer to the Feds, and 7 created so-called “partnership marketplaces” in cooperation with Washington.
  4. Whether intentional or not, the ACA as written provides federal subsidies to state exchanges but says nothing about subsidies to federal exchanges. The Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon theorized that this  omission was an intentional feature of the law in order to incentivize states to create their own exchanges. Many ACA defendants, on the other hand, argued that it was a simple drafting error.
  5. In 2012, the IRS finalized a regulation requiring the federal government to provide subsidies to federal exchanges, despite the fact this power was missing from the law. A number of individuals and businesses promptly sued in four appeals court circuits, hence the Halbig case.
  6. In Halbig, the Plaintiffs argued the omission was intentional, the government argued that it’s irrelevant. The plaintiffs went with Cannon’s theory that the omission is a feature, not a mistake, of the law to encourage states to create their own exchanges.  The Feds, on the other hand, essentially argued that the text of the ACA treats the two exchanges as equivalent.
  7. The DC Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Halbig, creating a circuit split. On the same day as the Halbig decision, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia upheld the federal subsidies as legal. These conflicting rulings inevitably mean the matter will be decided by the Supreme Court, foreshadowing future wonky drama in the near future.

Advocate Nick Published in the PanAm Post on the Highway Trust Fund

Advocate Nick Zaiac was published in The PanAmerican Post on the renewal of the Federal Highway Trust Fund.

One of the common tropes among free-market types is the question of “Who will build the roads?” The question is so ubiquitous that it is generally used to mock those who do not agree with the ideas of limited government in general. Yet the answer to this question is one of the hardest for such people to answer. Unlike most areas of society, where government intervention has caused problems, the answer to the “infrastructure question” is far from easy.

You can read the entire piece here.

If you’d like to book Nick or any other Advocate, please contact Young Voices.


Editor Cathy Published in the Freeman

Young Voices Editor Cathy Reisenwitz was published in The Freeman about Germany’s sex work legalization and its impact on human trafficking.

On the last day of my recent trip to Germany, I’d wanted to check out Deutschland’s brothels. The focus of my writing on sex work has been U.S.-centric thus far. So I wanted to speak to someone participating in sex work in a country where it’s legal. I was running out of time and euros, but it just so happened that the quickest route to my hotel after drinks with locals included an area known for its ladies of the night.

Read the rest of the piece here.

If you’d like to speak with or book Cathy or any of our Advocates, please contact Young Voices now.


Advocate Yaël Published in PanAm Post on the Child Migrant Crisis

Advocate Yaël Ossowski was published in The PanAm Post on the fiscal policy of Quebec’s newly elected Liberal Party.

When families with young children escape the perils of economic hardship and gangster-dominated neighborhoods in Latin America to make their way to the American border, their chances for a better life are just within reach.

Most of them aim to connect with their family members and loved ones already living in the United States.

A costly and overly bureaucratic process awaits them if they follow all the rules and wait years. Alternatively, a short but dangerous journey across deserts and rivers, led by a high-pricedcoyote, grants them immediate access, but condemns them to illegal status in the country.

You can read the full piece here.

If you’d like to book Yaël or any other Advocate, please contact Young Voices.



Advocate Sam Published in Boston Globe on Driverless Cars

Advocate Sam Tracy had a letter-to-the-editor published in The Boston Globe about state regulation of driverless cars.

I SECOND all of Tom Keane’s recommendations in “How to grow the ‘sharing economy’” (Opinion, July 13), but believe we can do more than eliminate obstacles facing Uber and other new transportation services. Boston and the state should also be preparing for the next wave of ride-sharing technology, especially driverless vehicles.

Google and other technology companies have grabbed headlines for designing and testing self-driving cars, and Tesla Motors recently announced plans to bring its first model to market in three years. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has expressed interest in using driverless cars once they are feasible. But governments are woefully unprepared for such progress. Only Nevada, Florida, California, Michigan, and the District of Columbia have updated their laws to begin the process of legalizing the use of autonomous vehicles.

Massachusetts should join these states and pass legislation to allow testing, and eventually operation, of self-driving cars on public roads. This law would ensure Bay Staters would use such vehicles as soon as they are available. It could also establish our state as an early leader in the greatest revolution in surface transportation technology since the internal combustion engine.

You can read the letter online here.

Teacher In Classroom

Editor Casey Interviewed by Zeb Bell on Teacher Tenure

Editor Casey Given has been interviewed by the Idaho radio host Zeb Bell about recent challenges to state and local governments’ teacher tenure systems.

You can hear the interview online here. Casey’s segment starts 1 hour 16 minutes in.

If you’d like to speak with or book Casey or any of our other Advocates, please contact Young Voices now.


Editor Cathy Published on Townhall.com

Young Voices Editor Cathy Reisenwitz was published in Townhall.com about how Netroots Nation and liberal populism may be key to defeating Hillary Clinton.

These young, liberal voters may not all know about Hillary Clinton’s frankly establishment Republican stances on foreign policy and spying and collusion between business and government. But a candidate like Rand Paul could help bring these deficiencies to light. Rand Paul has stood up to President Obama about NSA overreach, extrajudicial killings, punishing whistleblowers, staying out of foreign conflicts and crony capitalism. Rand Paul would be able to, if not woo these young liberals, at least show them that they should stay home for Hillary.

Read the rest of the piece here.

If you’d like to speak with or book Cathy or any of our Advocates, please contact Young Voices now.


Daily Links — Gaza Ceasefire Ends, Judge Strikes Down California Death Penalty, Australia Repeals Carbon Tax

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Advocate Matej Featured on POP TV

Young Voices Advocate Matej Ogorevc appeared on POP TV’s evening news show, called “24ur,” to discuss what it means that the socialists have entered Slovenia’s parliament.

The coalition of the united left, as they call themselves, have called for workers’ ownership of banks and factories, and were rewarded nearly 6% of the vote. Matej discusses their proposition to limit the difference between highest and lowest wages in Slovenia to 5:1. He points out that Slovenia already has one of the lowest inequality rates in the world. His second comment is on their proposal to shorten work hours to 35. The fundamental problem with this, according to Matej, is that Slovene workers are not productive enough, and that this proposal, provided pay stays the same, will bankrupt businesses, and worsen unemployment.

The segment is in Slovenian and Matej first appears about thirty seconds in.

If you’d like to speak with or book Matej or any of our other Advocates, please contact Young Voices today.

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Advocate Matej Featured on POP TV

Young Voices Advocate Matej Ogorevc appeared on POP TV’s evening news show, called “24ur,” to discuss the debate ahead of parliamentary elections which took place this past Sunday. He joined 4 lawyers and 3 economists.

The segment is in Slovenian and Matej appears about two minutes in.

If you’d like to speak with or book Matej or any of our other Advocates, please contact Young Voices today.

Carl Edwards Gets Schooled By Fort Worth SWAT Team

Advocate Alex Published in Informatíon on Police Abuse

Young Voices Advocate Alex Vanopslagh was published by the Danish media outlet Informatíon arguing for requiring police officers to carry cameras.

During recent years have seen officers who deprive citizens of their right to demonstrate because they show a flag, a certain head of state does not like. We have seen a cop who overturned a man out of a wheelchair and leaving him lying on the street.

And most recently, we have seen a cop carry out random naked visitation of one of the writers of this post without a valid reason for suspicion. It is directly naive to think that only abroad, the police abuse their power and are heavy-handed in their methods.Therefore there is a need for greater control of the Danish police officers. It can and should be done by equipping officers with cameras that increase self-discipline.

You can read the entire piece here.

If you’d like to speak with or book Alex or any of our other Advocates, please contact Young Voices now.

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