As the Republican-controlled U.S. House passed several bills that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act, liberal critics belittled these efforts by contending that Obamacare was “settled law” since it had been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
But how can we say it is “settled law” when our president’s actions seem to reflect his belief that some of the law’s very specific provisions are what he wants them to be as opposed to their clear meaning?
The most recent case in point was the administration’s recent decision to delay until 2016 the requirement that employers with 50 to 99 full-time workers either provide health insurance or pay a financial penalty.
This represents the second time this particular requirement has been delayed for a year. In July 2013, the administration delayed this employer mandate until 2015.
Congressional approval is clearly needed to change a very unambiguous provision that the mandate is effective after Dec. 31, 2013.
President Barack Obama’s stated rationale for the extension was to ensure that mid-sized companies had sufficient time to comply with the law.
His explanation raises two interesting questions.
How long do you really need to comply with a law that was enacted in 2010?
Is it fair for the president to be in the business of picking winners and losers? One group of employers has received a two-year delay while everyone subject to the individual mandate got no such reprieve.
Obama’s decision to ignore the clear intent of a law that defines his presidency seems more attuned to political calculation than about providing additional time for compliance.
The Affordable Care Act is expected to be front and center among issues in the 2014 midterm elections, but this does not justify doing an end run around the Constitution.
At one point in his life, our president taught constitutional law. He surely knows better.
Arbitrary decisions on who wins and who loses under the Affordable Care Act extend well beyond the administration’s announcement. The record reflects far too many waivers and exemptions to the politically well connected.
So much for equality under the law.
By the same token, so much for our country being a nation of laws rather than one where those laws can be effectively rewritten at one man’s pleasure.
This is what you would expect in a banana republic, but not in a constitutional republic with co-equal branches of government.
All hail El Presidente.