Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Today the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in King v. Burwell. The plaintiffs claim that federal tax subsidies that helped about 7.5 million people purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act are not legal in at least 34 states where the feds are operating the ACA’s health exchanges. A decision is expected in June.

Why is this suit important to New Jerseyans? That is because it is based on one section of the law which says that subsidies should flow to customers “through an Exchange established by the state.” Plaintiffs argue that language means that only people in the state-run marketplaces – and not those in federally run marketplaces – can get the subsidies.

There are only 17 states that set up their own sponsored Exchanges, the rest like New Jersey opted for the federal run Exchanges.

If the Court rules that the law must be taken “verbatim” the sudden increase in premiums by up to 200/300% could be catastrophic for lower income persons.

The liberal members of the Court may rule that it is not the language of the law but the intent that is important. In effect SCOPUS would be writing a law which is not its Constitutional function; although it could be in the best interests of the people.

There is an interesting comment in I believe the Post;"Should the Supreme Court decide King v. Burwell to disallow federal tax subsidies for residents of states without state health exchanges in June, House Ways & Means Chair Paul Ryan and his GOP colleagues John Kline and Fred Upton have a plan. They’d ditch the ACA by getting rid of mandates to provide or purchase health insurance and offer “advanceable” and refundable tax credits to those whose insurance might be dropped under the Supreme Court decision. 

With the present controversy about militant Islam specifically ISIS and the nuclear bomb ambition of the Theological leadership in Iran how many saw this report this past week

Islamic State militants released a video Thursday appearing to show men destroying artifacts, some dating back to the 7th century BC, at an antiquities museum in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The militants appeared to smash statues and sculptures from the Assyrian and Akkadian eras using sledgehammers and drills. In the video, a man said, “The prophet ordered us to get rid of statues and relics.” The video has not been independently verified, though UNESCO said it is checking it. Islamic State militants seized the museum when they overran Mosul in June 2014, and the Financial Action Task Force reported the fighters control more than 4,500 archaeological sites, including UNESCO world heritage sites. UNESCO chief Irina Bokova said, “This attack is far more than a cultural tragedy – this is also a security issue as it fuels sectarianism, violent extremism and conflict in Iraq.” She called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

Throughout history, religious fanatics of all types when in power have destroyed any artifacts including structures of other religions. The Inquisitors during the Spanish conquest of Central and South America burned or destroyed all conquered native religious records and sites with a permanent loss of irreplaceable history.

In the early 70s Helen and I were fortunate on a trip to Iran, India and Afghanistan to fly from Kabul to Bamiyan to see the Great Buddhas which may have dated from Alexander’s time. *** Several years ago the Taliban when in power destroyed them using artillery for the purpose.

WE should not underestimate the threat to our way of life by these zealots.

I might add that while in Iran our guide after we had made a trip to a bazaar and he had bargained successfully for I forgot what, perhaps a silk rug, remarked that bargaining was a respected way of life and that lying for an advantage was highly regarded as proper.

I do not believe that the Iranian leadership intend to keep agreements any more than the North Koreans, or Russia’s Putin.

***Wikipedia states that the Buddhas date back to the 6th Century. They were originally jewel encrusted but various conquerors  had looted them.

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