February 18, 2014 The Pacific Research Institute and the Cato Institute issued the following statements after filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in support of the challenge to the IRS decision to extend tax subsidies to those purchasing insurance through the federal exchanges which were not included in the Affordable Care Act.
Sally C. Pipes, President and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, said, Our brief makes clear that this is a simple case of fundamental principle: neither a federal court nor an executive agency can override a laws plain meaning. The ACA clearly states that only individuals purchasing insurance through state exchanges are eligible for tax subsidies. Yet the IRS and the District Court rejected this plain reading in favor of an interpretation extending subsidies to those purchasing insurance through federal exchanges. Neither the IRS nor the courts have the authority to rewrite a statute to correct their view of perceived legislative purpose. Doing so might be expedient in the short-term, but it would cause long-term institutional damage. The executive and courts are bound by the plain meaning of the statute that Congress passed and the President signed. After all, we are a government of laws, and not of men.