On Thursday, President Barack Obama said of his health care law: “Despite all the evidence that the law is working the way it’s supposed to,” there are critics out there. He says they must be doing it for purely political reasons. That sound you hear is the fire alarm going off in the White House.
Shortly after the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) was signed into law on Mar. 23, 2010, the administration announced that the massive Title VIII of the law–the CLASS Act that would set up a national system of elderly case–would never be implemented, because the Obama administration cannot find any way either to implement the system or to pay for it.
Over the past three years, the Obama administration has been issuing “waivers” for various ACA requirements regarding how much companies must pay out in health care benefits to employees, because many low-wage employers like McDonald’s couldn’t meet those requirements, and would have to cancel all health care benefits for those employees. (It should also be noted that the “waivers” are unlawful, because the ACA imposes that requirement on employers and does not allow the government to waive them.)
A year ago, the Supreme Court struck down as a violation of the Tenth Amendment the mandatory expansion of Medicaid in all 50 states, making it entirely optional. The White House started scrambling when half the states in the nation refused to go along with this unaffordable and unmanageable expansion of government health care.
Also a year ago, the IRS issued a new regulation saying that the massive subsidies that taxpayers would have to pay on health care policies purchased from state-run government exchanges in all 50 states would also apply to policies purchased on an exchange run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, because it became clear that many states would not participate in that government-run model either. (In fact, 34 states have refused to set up exchanges, and the IRS’s regulation is being challenged in court as illegal.)
Then two weeks ago, the Treasury Department announced that for the first year it is in effect (2014), the IRS would not enforce the Employer Mandate requiring large employers to provide healthcare to employees. The system was ready to implode and deprive millions of Americans of both health care and work hours (forcing many employers to cut hours to 29/week for full-time employees), and the IRS could not develop an effective reporting or enforcement system. (Like the “waivers” above, this too is illegal.)
And just this week, HHS announced that the massive state exchange system may be put off a year as well. It was supposed to start on Oct. 1, 2013, and is having so many severe problems that it too cannot start when the ACA says it must.
Yet with all that, Obama says that the ACA is working great, and those who deny it must have sinister political motives. (Set aside the fact that now some of the ACA’s biggest critics are major unions like AFL-CIO and the Teamsters, normally Obama’s biggest allies and without whose zealous support the ACA would never have passed Congress.)
It’s like George Orwell’s 1984. The government literally could say 2+2=5, and no one would call them on it. If a conservative leader said such things, the media would call for his head. But when a liberal does it, they ignore it. (Or if you’re MSNBC, you applaud his “courage” and might offer him a TV show to anchor.)
If any private citizen said such things, we’d have a one-word label for him: “liar.” But most people in this country rightly show great respect for the institution of the presidency that we don’t use such terms (unless they’re committed liberals and the president happens to be a conservative Republican–in which case you can call him anything you want). Instead, we say he’s “got his facts wrong” or he’s using “fuzzy math,” or some other such softer statement.
So using such a word would be disrespectful, and we won’t do it here. But if the smoke detectors go off at the White House, there’s no need to call the fire department. The smoke is because President Obama’s pants are on fire.
Breitbart News legal columnist Ken Klukowski is senior fellow for religious liberty at the Family Research Council and on faculty at Liberty University School of Law.