Derek Hunter

In the movie "Grosse Pointe Blank," one professional killer is protecting a target from another professional killer when he says the other hitman is either in love with the purported victim’s daughter “or he has a newfound respect for life.” It’s a comedy (and a good one), so the second hitman is in love the guy’s daughter. No newfound respect for life at all.

I thought of that quote when I heard White House Spokesman Josh Earnest say, “It is pretty obvious what the congressional intent was.” He was talking about the D.C. Court of Appeals ruling that Obamacare subsidies apply only to states that set up exchanges because, well, that’s what the text of the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act says. The Obama administration, it seems, has a newfound respect for the intent of lawmakers.

As George Will pointed out back in January, “Four words that threaten disaster for the ACA say the subsidies shall be available to persons who purchase health insurance in an exchange ‘established by the state.’” Many states did not set up health care exchanges, so residents there went to the federal exchange. Despite progressives’ best efforts, there is still a difference between the two.

This system of subsidies for state exchanges was created to pressure states to play ball, to set up exchanges because there was a pot of taxpayer-subsidized gold at the end of that rainbow. But many states refused, much to the administration’s chagrin.

That refusal forced the Obama administration to have the IRS “re-interpret” those four words to mean any exchange, state or federal. That’s not what the law says, but Earnest insists it is was what lawmakers meant.

Derek Hunter

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.