“I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone – and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.”
“That’s the good thing about being President. I can do whatever I want.” [President Obama during a recent visit to Monticello.]
About the best thing that can be said about President Obama and his penchant for unilateral, extra-constitutional executive action is that he’s not being coy about it. He tells you he’s going to break the law. And then he does it.
And he just did it again.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal:
Most employers won’t face a fine next year if they fail to offer workers health insurance, the Obama administration said Monday, in the latest big delay of the health-law rollout.
The Treasury Department, in regulations outlining the Affordable Care Act, said employers with 50 to 99 full-time workers won’t have to comply with the law’s requirement to provide insurance or pay a fee until 2016. Companies with more workers could avoid some penalties in 2015 if they showed they were offering coverage to at least 70% of full-time workers.
The move came after employers pressured the Obama administration to peel back the law’s insurance requirements. Some firms had trimmed workers’ hours to below 30 hours a week to avoid paying a penalty if they didn’t offer insurance.
According to the WSJ, a senior administration official said “no one reason was behind the change.”
Oh, but I beg to differ. There is one purely selfish political reason behind the decision to flout the rule of law and rewrite Obamacare–again and again. To win elections. A sentiment echoed by Charles Krauthammer in an appearance on the Fox News Channel (transcript courtesy of The Right Scoop):
…generally speaking you get past the next election by changing your policies, by announcing new initiatives, but not by wantonly changing the law lawlessly. This is stuff you do in a banana republic. It’s as if the law is simply a blackboard on which Obama writes any number he wants, any delay he wants, and any provision.
…These are political decisions to minimize the impact leading up to an election. And it’s changing the law in a way that you are not allowed to do.
Here’s a part of the law the president did not change. While corporations are getting a break from the mandate, American families are not. Anyone who doesn’t run a company with more than 50 employees is still stuck under Obamacare and its mandates, including, but not limited to, the penalties paid for not having healthcare insurance (or the “right kind” of healthcare insurance).
Oh, and before the president’s pen runs dry, he’s got an “avalanche” of new Obamacare regulations yet to come. The Washington Free Beacon reports that according to an American Action Forum analysis, the 28 new regulations in the pipeline are expected to require 45.7 million man hours, costing $1.4 billion annually. That’s 22,800 employees working full-time.
As you might recall, it is the man hours required to abide by Obamacare’s mandates that are at the center of a Judicial Watch lawsuit on behalf of Kawa Orthodontics, owned by Florida orthodontist Larry Kawa.
Judicial Watch lawyers argue that Dr. Kawa expended considerable resources to comply with the original start of the mandate, December 2013 – resources he can never get back now that President Obama has decided to delay the employer mandate (our legal argument is strengthened by Obama’s delaying the law now twice).
Dr. Kawa argues that the law, and the U.S. Constitution, require that the original mandate be reinstated, unpleasant political consequences for President Obama or not.
Unfortunately, our lawsuit was dismissed by a federal district court. The court ruled that Kawa Orthodontics didn’t have standing to pursue the case. JW is appealing the ruling with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
And what is the state of healthcare in America as the president attempts to keep his Titanic healthcare reform law afloat? Not enough life rafts. Millions of people have had their health insurance cancelled, children with disabilities are being denied treatment, and people are having trouble finding any doctors to treat them at all.
And that uber-expensive train wreck of a website Healthcare.gov still can’t get its act straight. Perhaps this should come as no shock to the system given that the contractor hired to clean up the mess was cited by the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General’s office for having an “absence of business ethics.” Fox News used the words “kickbacks” and “bid rigging” to characterize the activities of employees working for Accenture.
This just gets worse and worse as the days pass.
I can certainly understand the temptation to rewrite Obamacare, a freedom-killing piece of legislation that is corrupted by secrecy, kickbacks, and political power grabs. But as any high school history class will teach, writing laws, and changing them, is the province of the legislative branch, not the executive.
President Obama has both feet planted out of bounds on this (and on so many other issues, including illegal alien amnesty) and worse–he doesn’t seem to care. Because that’s the good thing about being THIS president, evidently. He can do whatever he wants. Or so he believes. Let’s hope the Eleventh Circuit reminds him otherwise.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton is author of the NY Times best-seller “The Corruption Chronicles” and executive producer of the documentary “District of Corruption.”