June 18, 2021
Three Quick Takes –– Newsletter Issue #133

Supreme Court: It took the court more than six months to decide (7-2) that plaintiffs didn’t have standing to challenge Obamacare’s individual mandate. The accurate headline would be “SCOTUS punts,” but instead we read, “Supreme Court upholds Obamacare for the third time.” Sigh.

Since Congress had set the individual mandate penalty at zero in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the plaintiffs argued that meant the mandate is no longer a tax. And since the mandate is the central pillar of the ACA, they argued the law had to fall.  There was little chance the court would decide that, but there was hope that it could make it clear that the mandate was an unconstitutional requirement for Americans to spend their own personal money to buy private, government-mandated, health insurance.

Instead, the court contrived a way for Chief Justice John Roberts to save face after he had saved the law in 2012 with a convoluted decision declaring the mandate to be an optional “tax.” Instead of calling him on it, the Court sidestepped the issue through standing.

With premiums and deductibles soaring, narrow networks of doctors and hospitals, and billions of dollars being shoveled directly to health insurance companies, the ACA must be changed.  But the legislative process is the proper vehicle, which is really what the Court is saying.

Which brings us to…

Doug Badger and Brian Blase did a concise overview of the next battle over Obamacare—President Biden’s attempt to provide hugely generous permanent subsidies to affluent Americans through the ACA.

The 30-minute webinar, sponsored by Heritage, is here: “Biden's Bureaucratic Plans for American Families: Health Care.”  Doug explains that the proposal to permanently expand tax credits with no income limits, would be “a $200 billion gift from the federal Treasury to profitable health insurance companies that participate in the Obamacare exchanges…while doing little to reduce the number of uninsured.” There’s more in his paper explaining six reasons why the temporary boost in tax credit subsidies should not be made permanent.

Brian details the deeper issues in his newly-updated paper, “Expanded ACA Subsidies: Exacerbating Health Inflation and Income Inequality.”

Coming Clean on Covid: Does the structure of the Covid-19 virus itself contain strong clues about its origins? Many top scientists say it does and that it reveals there’s little chance it evolved in nature and jumped to humans.

The Hudson Institute sponsored a forum on Wednesday with a fact-based analysis of “The origins of COVID-19.” The recording is available on YouTube.  Dr. Steven Quay and Professor Richard Muller examine both the zoonotic and “lab leak” origin hypotheses.  It a fascinating session and watching it will be an hour well spent.

Regarding mandatory masks:  A group of parents sent their kid’s face masks to a lab for analysis, and Townhall reports on the results.

The six masks were clean or new before the children wore them for one day at school.  The masks showed no Covid-19 virus in the test afterward, but it did show they were contaminated with dangerous pneumonia-causing bacteria, tuberculosis, meningitis, diphtheria, and many other serious pathogens.

Yet the CDC says kids must wear masks at summer camp!  These parents know the masks are much more harmful than helpful for children. This has to stop!

And finally, Dr. Fauci announced yesterday that Merck is testing an anti-viral pill it has developed to ward off the virus before it storms the body.

The New York Times reports in “A Pill to Treat Covid-19? The U.S. Is Betting on It” as news that anti-virals are most effective when taken early.  Good grief.

“At the start of the pandemic, researchers began testing existing antivirals in people hospitalized with severe Covid-19,” the Times reports. “But many of those trials failed to show any benefit from the antivirals. In hindsight, the choice to work in hospitals was a mistake. Scientists now know that the best time to try to block the coronavirus is in the first few days of the disease, when the virus is replicating rapidly and the immune system has not yet mounted a defense.”

Many, many of our physician friends who are treating actual patients knew this all along.  The facts are starting to come out now, both about the origins of the virus and how best to fight it, but countless lives have been lost because of the unforgiveable politicization of these issues.  The media is very much complicit in inhibiting an open and objective dialogue.
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