For over two weeks now, failed retransmission negotiations between AT&T and Nexstar Media Group…
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TV Blackouts Reconfirm Need for Free Market Regulatory Reform

For over two weeks now, failed retransmission negotiations between AT&T and Nexstar Media Group have deprived customers across the United States of 120 Nexstar television stations in 97 markets.

That's unfortunately something to which far too many Americans have become accustomed recently, as 2019 has already witnessed more TV blackouts than any year in history.  And the news only gets worse:  CBS is now warning that stations in numerous major markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas and others, could be blacked out as this week concludes.

Here's the overarching problem.  Current laws dating all the way back to 1992 empower the federal government to pick TV market winners and losers by tipping the scales during negotiations.  Those laws governing what…[more]

July 18, 2019 • 08:58 pm

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Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Florida Will Sue to Stop ObamaCare Coercion to Expand Medicaid Print
By Ashton Ellis
Wednesday, April 22 2015
Under a different presidential regime – one that respects the separation-of-powers and the rule of law – holding Florida’s Medicaid matching funds hostage would not be an issue after the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that ObamaCare cannot compel states unwilling to expand their Medicaid program.

Was the U.S. Supreme Court serious when it upheld ObamaCare, but said the federal government couldn’t “hold a gun to the head” of states that choose not to expand Medicaid?

A new lawsuit initiated by Florida and supported by Texas may provide an answer.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, is embroiled in a bitter fight with the Obama White House over whether federal Medicaid funds can be conditioned on a state’s expansion of the program under ObamaCare.

At issue is a threat by the Obama administration to withhold more than $1 billion in federal payments to Florida hospitals if Scott refuses to expand the population eligible for Medicaid.

“It is appalling that President Barack Obama would cut off federal health care dollars to Florida in an effort to force our state further into ObamaCare,” Scott said last week. He has since directed the state’s Attorney General to file a lawsuit challenging the linkage of federal funding to Medicaid expansion.

Scott’s announcement drew a swift rebuke from White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “It’s difficult to explain why somebody would think that their political situation and their political interest is somehow more important than the livelihoods of 800,000 people,” he said.

But Florida isn’t alone in pushing back against constitutional overreach.

“When the federal government exceeds its constitutional authority, the States must take action,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott, also a Republican, said in a statement. “[I] commend Governor Rick Scott’s decision to take legal action to protect these important constitutional principles.”

The principles at stake are whether the federal government can force states to participate in spending programs against their will, and whether the executive branch can ignore a clear command by the U.S. Supreme Court that it cannot.

Under a different presidential regime – one that respects the separation-of-powers and the rule of law – holding Florida’s Medicaid matching funds hostage would not be an issue after the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that ObamaCare cannot compel states unwilling to expand their Medicaid program. In NFIB v. Sebelius (2012), Chief Justice John Roberts made clear that states have full discretion to accept or reject ObamaCare’s expansion offer, at no risk financially if they decline.

Unlike previous alterations, ObamaCare’s “Medicaid expansion… accomplishes a shift in kind, not merely degree,” wrote Roberts. “The original program was designed to cover medical services for four particular categories of the needy: the disabled, the blind, the elderly, and needy families with dependent children. Previous amendments to Medicaid eligibility merely altered and expanded the boundaries of these categories. Under [ObamaCare], Medicaid is transformed into a program to meet the health care needs of the entire nonelderly population with income below 133 percent of the poverty level. It is no longer a program to care for the neediest among us, but rather an element of a comprehensive national plan to provide universal health insurance coverage.”

Moreover, ObamaCare originally gave the Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to strip states of all federal matching dollars if states refused to expand Medicaid eligibility.

With this in mind, the Court held that the law’s take-it-or-lose-it rules on Medicaid expansion unconstitutionally coerce states into spending money they otherwise would not. “The threatened loss of over 10 percent of a State’s overall budget… is economic dragooning that leaves the States with no real option but to acquiesce in the Medicaid expansion,” wrote Roberts. 

Less than three years later, the Obama administration is attempting to engage in exactly the same kind of “economic dragooning” the Supreme Court forbade. Federal Medicaid funding for Florida’s hospitals runs out on June 30, and Obama administration officials are insisting that the state expand its Medicaid population or lose more than $1 billion.

It’s a shame that Florida must once again go through a lengthy court battle to get the equivalent of a restraining order against an out-of-control executive branch, but such is the case. In the meantime, expect the Obama administration to continue its run as one of the most lawless in our nation’s history.

Question of the Week   
On July 20, 1969, the first man to walk on the Moon was Neil Armstrong, making “one giant leap for Mankind.” Who was the last person to walk on the Moon?
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"Sen. Bernie Sanders is one of the many faces that make up the progressive left within the Democratic Party. He's an unapologetic democratic socialist. He has an economic agenda that would cost us trillions of dollars. And he's staunchly pro-labor union. That is until his campaign staff starts making demands for better pay, right? Yeah, it seems so. The Sanders campaign has unionized and is demanding…[more]
 
 
—Matt Vespa, Townhall.com Senior Editor
— Matt Vespa, Townhall.com Senior Editor
 
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