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Tony Perkins / Jun. 19, 2015

ObamaCare in Critical Condition at Court

Americans want a second opinion on the country’s health care law — and the Supreme Court is giving them one. Three years after the justices upheld the President’s controversial legislation, the justices are taking another crack at ObamaCare — with even more on the line. That’s news to most Americans, 70 percent of whom have heard little or nothing about the case. And while they may not know about the suit, they’re about to feel its effects if the justices strike down the subsidies that make the coverage possible for millions of people. The “Affordable” Care Act, which is turning out to be one of the most litigated pieces of legislation in modern history, is back under the microscope — this time to decide if the IRS acted lawlessly (The IRS? Lawless?) in doling out billions of dollars in health care aid to people not meant to receive it. Under the law passed by Congress, only states that set up their own health care exchanges were eligible for subsidies.

Americans want a second opinion on the country’s health care law — and the Supreme Court is giving them one. Three years after the justices upheld the President’s controversial legislation, the justices are taking another crack at ObamaCare — with even more on the line. That’s news to most Americans, 70 percent of whom have heard little or nothing about the case. And while they may not know about the suit, they’re about to feel its effects if the justices strike down the subsidies that make the coverage possible for millions of people.

The “Affordable” Care Act, which is turning out to be one of the most litigated pieces of legislation in modern history, is back under the microscope — this time to decide if the IRS acted lawlessly (The IRS? Lawless?) in doling out billions of dollars in health care aid to people not meant to receive it. Under the law passed by Congress, only states that set up their own health care exchanges were eligible for subsidies.

As usual, the IRS ignored the plain language of the law and offered the same financial help to low-income people on the federal exchanges too. In King v. Burwell, the Court will decide whether it’s legal to give tax subsidies to 6.4 million people who already have help buying health insurance. As anyone familiar with the law knows, a ruling against the administration would be catastrophic for the President’s health care scheme — imploding ObamaCare’s already shaky foundation and leaving 87% of enrollees without subsidies.

Of course, the GOP has spent the last five years trying to topple the law — voting more than 50 times to repeal the legislation in some fashion. And while conservatives would welcome a decision gutting a major portion of the policy, they also recognize that it’s absolutely essential to protect the Americans who would be stranded without coverage. With just two weeks left in the Supreme Court’s term, House and Senate Republicans are moving quickly on a short-term solution that would bridge the gap until 2017, when the GOP could potentially have a President in the White House who could overhaul the entire system.

In a closed-door meeting [Wednesday], both chambers’ Republicans met together to hash out their options. So far, one plan that’s receiving the most attention is Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.), which would return to the states something they desperately want: control. Using a system of block grants, state leaders could choose for themselves how to spend Washington’s money, while also repealing the individual and employer mandates that have destroyed jobs and outraged voters. As Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) told reporters, “…[T]hey can set up their own exchange; they can give tax credits; they can set up health savings accounts; they can do whatever they want… What we do is we give the power — instead of requiring or forcing governors to enter ObamaCare — we give them the power to opt out of ObamaCare [and] the money to take care of those who are on some form of subsidy for a specific period of time, until we can put in place a full-system replacement.”

While the idea doesn’t have universal support from conservatives on the Hill, it’s at least a starting point that continues the dismantling process of one of the worst laws in American history.

Signs and Supreme Court Wonders

Good News Community Church got some good news from the U.S. Supreme Court today. In what can only be called a consensus win for free speech, the justices ruled unanimously that Gilbert, Arizona violated the First Amendment in the way it restricted a church’s meeting signs. Thanks to a ridiculous local ordinance, Pastor Clyde Reed couldn’t get the message out about his church’s services because the city was picking and choosing which signs were acceptable. Unlike the more relaxed standards for things like political ads or real estate notices, Gilbert officials cracked down on the size, timing, and placement of church signs.

That all changed [yesterday], when the Court struck down the rule, protecting the message of churches — and anyone else the government wants to marginalize in the public debate. Just because a town disagrees someone’s speech doesn’t mean they have a license to silence it. We applaud the Court and our friends at ADF for encouraging an open marketplace of ideas in which all voices are welcome.

Southern Cross: SBC Lights the Way Post-SCOTUS

States aren’t the only ones bracing for the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling — so are church leaders. Concerned about what a bad decision might mean for their congregations, some leaders are getting out in front of the decision and reinforcing where they stand and where they won’t go. In the case of the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, there’s no debating where the church stands: on the truth.

In a bold letter to its 16 million congregants, past and present SBC presidents warn that they will obey man’s law — as long as it doesn’t conflict with God’s. “What the Bible says about marriage is clear, definitive, and unchanging,” the 17 men write. “Consequently, we will not accept, nor adhere to, any legal redefinition of marriage issued by any political or judicial body including the United States Supreme Court. We will not recognize same-sex ‘marriages,’ our churches will not host same-sex ceremonies, and we will not perform such ceremonies.”

Uncompromising and unapologetic, the SBC reiterates its care and compassion for all people, “including those struggling with same-sex attraction,” but warns that it will not deviate from God’s design for marriage. By staking out a clear position, SBC leaders have sent a strong message — not just to the Christian community, but to the entire country. On the eve of one of the most significant court rulings in American history, at least one denomination is insisting that our first duty “is to love and obey God.” If that means civil disobedience, so be it.

Knowing even greater persecution could be around the corner, SBC’s presidents promised that Christians, no matter their occupation, would never stand alone. In one of the most powerful parts of the letter, the group pledged to rally around those whose beliefs could cost them their jobs, livelihoods, and businesses. “We also join together to support those who stand for natural marriage in the corporate world, the marketplace, education, entertainment, media and elsewhere with our prayers and influence, and resources.”

In the potentially dark days ahead, more churches need to follow the SBC’s lead and encourage those who sit in the pews to stand against government intolerance. The culture may change, but right and wrong do not. For that reason, the first letter to the Corinthians says, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

Mourning with Those Who Mourn

The nation is still in shock over the horror that took place in Charleston, South Carolina [Wednesday] night, when a place of worship became a story of tragedy at the hands of an angry gunman. With frightening calm, a young man shattered the prayerful gathering at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal when nine people innocently worshipping God were unexpectedly sent into His arms, the victims of another senseless tragedy. Although the motivations of the gunman are unclear, we condemn this shooting and any act of violence meant to intimidate or silence. No one should be afraid to sit in a church or live out their faith in this country.

Sadly, families in this nightmarish scene were not only robbed of their loved ones, but of the peace they expect and deserve. Once again, a sacred trust of the church was violated, and believers pay the steepest price. For the loved ones and friends of those who were slain, you do not weep alone. As followers of Jesus Christ, we rejoice that they have entered eternal life. We do not weep for them, but for those whose hearts have been broken and their lives turned upside down by this horrendous act of evil. Our prayers, our tears are with you.


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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