National Public Radio’s Scott Horsley had the opportunity to ask President Barack Obama a question Tuesday about the latest White House-ordered delay in Obamacare–namely, to excuse businesses with 50 to 99 employees from the employer mandate. At the press conference held jointly with France’s President François Hollande, Horsley tossed the president a softball that failed to question Obama’s authority to delay the law:
Yesterday, your administration again delayed the ACA employer mandate for mid-size companies. Last week, your economic adviser, Jason Fuhrman, talked about the new choices people have to find health care outside the workplace. I wonder if you could first explain the delay and then also talk about whether over the long term you see a future where health insurance is less tied to the workplace.
Explain the day–not justify it.
The president responded predictably, assuring reporters that the change was merely a minor one, affecting just a few businesses: “What we did yesterday was simply to make an adjustment…”, et cetera. He also used his answer to advertise his good intentions and the lofty goals of the Affordable Care Act. He did not cite any actual authority under the Constitution to change the law–because he has none, and because he was never asked.
At no point does it seem to have occurred to Horsley that what Obama did was unconstitutional. Perhaps he knows, and merely sought not to embarrass the president: Horsley is, after all, a serial pro-Obama shill. Here is what Horsley–and every other journalist, apparently–failed to ask: “Can you name the Constitutional provision that allows you to defy the plain language of the Affordable Care Act, or any other congressional statute?”