Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Election 2014, Law, Politics, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: Constitutional Tipping Point, Enforcing the Law, Separation of Powers
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the “Enforce the Law Act,” a bill designed to push back against the numerous unilateral moves the Obama administration has used to circumvent the law. There are several different bills directed at the same problem.
H.R. 4138 sponsored by Rep.Trey Gowdy (R-SC) would authorize the House or Senate to sue the executive branch for failing to enforce laws, and provide an expedited process for moving through federal district courts. The bill is one of several the House GOP is pushing to combat “the imperial presidency.”
Five Democrats joined Republicans to pass the bill by a 223 to 181 vote.
President Obama has altered ObamaCare at least 20 times so far. As he said, he has a pen and a phone, and if Congress won’t do what he wants he’ll just go around them. Most recently millions of people have been exempted from the individual mandate due to a convenient change in the rules.
The administration also has announced that individuals would be able to keep their so-called “substandard” health insurance plans that do not comply with ObamaCare until October 2017!
When Congress refused to pass the Dream Act, Obama unilaterally instituted it by creating a “deferred action” program for young illegal immigrants.
Democrats, for the most part, leaped to the defense of the President, ignoring the separation of powers and the Constitutional law-making function of Congress and the law-enforcing function of the executive.
Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley testified at a House hearing last month that America is at a “Constitutional tipping point.”
“The fact that I happen to think the president is right on many of these policies does not alter the fact that I believe the means he is doing [it] is wrong, and that this can be a dangerous change in our system,” the liberal law professor said. “And our system is changing in a very fundamental way. And it’s changing without a whimper of regret or opposition.”
I think there’s quite a bit of regret and opposition. The problem is that Congress does not have “standing” before the court to sue the president, and force him to enforce the laws as written, passed and signed.
Obama, on the other hand, threatens to veto any Republican bills that require him to follow the law.
The administration strongly opposes H.R. 4138 because it violates the separation of powers by purporting to permit the Congress to challenge in court the exercise by the President of one of his core constitutional functions — taking care that Federal laws are faithfully executed.
In other words Congress is violating the separation of powers by trying to make Obama stop violating the separation of powers. He’s arguing that because Article II leaves it to the president to faithfully execute the law, only Obama gets to decide whether he’s “faithfully executing the law” by selectively ignoring portions of it that benefit him politically.
The bill will, of course, die in the Senate. But the threat of a veto gives conservatives another reason to get their base excited about voting in November, and Obama once again made himself look silly.
Filed under: Politics, The Constitution, Health Care, Democrat Corruption, Progressivism, Taxes, Law, Election 2014, Regulation | Tags: Unaffordable Care Act, How Much Will It Really Cost?, Questionable Numbers
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before the Hour Committee on Ways and Means about the White House’s 2015 budget proposal. To no one’s surprise, Ms. Sebelius was peppered with questions about the impact of the Affordable Care Act and its effect on insurance rates.
“I think premiums are likely to go up, but at a smaller pace than what we’ve seen since 2010,” Mrs. Sebelius said, adding that she thought the likely increases would be less significant than they had been in the years before the federal health-care law was enacted.
You are not going to see any Democrat admitting any time soon that the cost of health care had been declining for a number of years. New life-saving drugs, new diagnostic techniques, more people taking better care of themselves have made a difference. The mantra about the terrible escalating cost of health care being a reason for ObamaCare was always hype.
You already have people complaining that they simply cannot afford the premiums for ObamaCare. At a town hall for Spanish-language media recently, Obama was challenged by a viewer on the economics of it for low-income Americans who are now forced to buy comprehensive health insurance. On a $36.000 annual income, the requirement to buy the broad policy rather than hospitalization coverage combined with a Health Savings Account — which is now illegal, makes it impossible to comply.
The President replied smugly, “if you looked at their cable bill, their telephone, their cell-phone bill — it may turn out that they just haven’t prioritized health care.” He added that if a family member gets sick, the father “will wish he had paid that $300 a month.”
According to the National Center for Public Policy Research, the health care law is reducing choice and increasing premiums. Consumers are paying an average of 39% more than they did before the law was implemented.
Liberals just don’t get basic economics. Regulations imposed by the government have a cost of compliance. Whether it is retrofitting a process or installing new equipment, or just all the people who must be hired to deal with the government paperwork, bureaucrats seldom have any understanding of the costs involved in complying. When liberals want to make their health care policies more attractive by including benefits that are not customarily part of a health care policy — it makes the policies cost more. Whether it is free contraceptive pills, or including childbirth and well-child visits in all policies for all ages, it raises the cost of the policies dramatically. And of course there is the cost of the vast government bureaucracy to administer the whole thing.
The federal government is so desperate to get healthy young people to sign up that they are waiving the individual mandate — the detail that was supposed to make the whole thing work. Not only that, they are offering all sorts of ways to avoid being fined or penalized — “hardship cases” loosely enforced. Just please, please sign up, and we’ll revise the law to make it work.
The whole thing is based on guesswork. The proportion of young Americans signing up for coverage through state and federal exchanges has remained below levels thought necessary to keep premiums stable. The administration said 4.2 million people enrolled in health-insurance plans but it doesn’t count unless they have paid up. That is far below the 6 to 7 million the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected would sign up.
Next year’s premiums are not set by the government, but by the insurance companies, who don’t really know what costs they have to base their premiums on. Oh well, if it doesn’t work, Obama will just issue some more executive orders. Laws are no longer fixed, but — fluid. Just keep delaying the bad stuff so nobody will know how it will work — until after the election.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Law, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, Taxes, The United States | Tags: How Elastic Is the Law?, ObamaCare Individual Mandate, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli
It was almost two years ago, when President Obama’s solicitor general Donald Verrilli told the Supreme Court that without the individual mandate, ObamaCare would fail. In his oral arguments before the court Mr. Verrilli made it clear that without the individual mandate ObamaCare would “make matters worse, not better”
He told the justices the “guaranteed issue” and “community rating” regulations at the heart of ObamaCare would not work if you allowed the young and healthy to choose not to buy insurance. It turns out that if people can wait until after they get sick to buy insurance, and get it at a subsidized rate, most will do exactly that, resulting in an insurance premium death spiral. When Kentucky tried these reforms, “virtually every insurer left the market.” In New Jersey, insurance rates doubled, causing its market to collapse.
ObamaCare was supposed to avoid this because of the mandate and the tax penalty on those who did not buy insurance. After the cancellation fiasco last year, Obama added a one-year expansion to the mandate’s “hardship exemption” for anyone who’d had policies canceled. Then last week, Obama quietly extended this loophole for two more years as the Wall Street Journal discovered. So people can claim an exemption if they’ve had their previous plan cancelled and “consider the other plans available unaffordable.” They just need a copy of the cancellation notice.
The rules are incredibly loose for exemptions. Someone claiming to have “experienced domestic violence” is automatically exempt without any need for documentation. Or just fail to pay a utility bill until a shut-off notice comes, and send that in. Instant hardship exemption.
Democrats also neutered the IRS’s ability to collect the penalty — avoiding political blowback, but giving the uninsured little incentive to pay. Sounds like it has already collapsed entirely, it’s just that nobody wants to admit that the corpse is truly dead.