Friday, November 22, 2013

Why Is Obama Allowed to Continually Break the Law By Allowing Exemptions from Parts of the Affordable Care Act?

And why is Congress doing nothing about it?

by Larry Simons
November 22, 2013

Several times in the past four months, Obama has issued, by declaration, exemptions from his own law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), for certain groups of people while the actual law itself has not been amended in order to lawfully grant these groups exemptions from the law.

In other words, Obama is violating the Constitution by not enforcing particular provisions within a law that he swore he would execute when he swore to uphold the Constitution.

Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution states:

"..he (the President) shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States"

This past July 2, Obama unilaterally exempted all employers [with 50 or more employees] from the employer mandate provision of the ACA for an additional year. The employer mandate states that employers with over 50 employees will incur a financial penalty for each full-time employee who does not have health insurance.

The administration said it was delaying the employer mandate for two reasons. "First, it will allow us to consider ways to simplify the new reporting requirements consistent with the law.  Second, it will provide time to adapt health coverage and reporting systems while employers are moving toward making health coverage affordable and accessible for their employees".

Constitutionally, it matters not what the reasoning is. Obama is violating federal law [his own law at that] by amending a law by decree. The authority to delay a law's implementation only lies with Congress, no one else. Amendments to laws must be voted on by both houses of Congress, in the same manner bills are passed to begin with. If Obama needed Congress to vote on the law itself, he needs them equally to vote on the amendment of a law. By issuing changes to laws by decree, Obama is simply declaring himself King and telling Congress they are not needed.

In August of 2013, Obama exempted some insurers, allowing them to set higher limits [or no limit at all] on out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and co-payments until 2015 [a full year delay], although the ACA clearly states that there will be caps on out-of-pocket costs [not exceeding $6,350 a year for individuals and $12,700 a year for families] starting January 1, 2014.

This exemption was given to insurers and employers who claimed they needed more time to comply because they used separate companies to help administer major medical coverage and drug benefits, with separate limits on out-of-pocket costs.

Once again, Obama issued this change by decree, completely bypassing the need for a vote from Congress to amend the law. Keep in mind, in 2009 Obama cited the caps on out-of-pocket costs as one of the law's staple features when he said, "We will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they get sick." He forgot to add, "...unless employers and insurance companies begin to bitch about it and complain they need more time, then it's OK for people to go broke because they're sick."

The most recent exemption granted to a group of people by King Obama was his decree to the millions of Americans who have received cancellations to their health care policies, that they can now stay on their plans for another full year.

This was supposed to be the big "fix" that Obama made to the millions who had their policies cancelled despite the President telling them no less than 36 times in the past four years, "If you like your plan, you can keep it."

Not only is this yet another violation of the Constitution by Obama for not enforcing a federal law, and not only is Obama violating that law by allowing exemptions to the law without a Congressional amendment, but it is not even a "fix". In the video below, Obama clearly states that insurance companies are not required to continue anyone's old policies.

Obama cannot force insurance companies to go back and sell their customers the old policies they already canceled. That leaves one burning question: What insurance company will be stupid enough to go back and sell their customer the cheaper plan when they do not have to, and not proceed with moving them into the Obamacare exchanges which are more expensive and under ACA guidelines are required to do?

Answer: Not many [and none if they do not want to break federal law]. Obama has to know this. And he has to know this is not a fix at all. As we speak, Arkansas and the state of Washington have already announced they will not let their insurance companies extend any old health insurance plans. There is no doubt other states will soon follow suit.

And just why will these insurance companies not extend the old plans? Simple. Because the old plans are cheaper than the Obamacare exchanges, and there is no way any insurance company will lose money over this. According to Judge Andrew Napolitano, because insurance companies have to simultaneously offer the new Obamacare policies which cost more, with the old cheaper policies that were cancelled [the ones Obama is allowing the insurers to take back], they will not get enough money from the Obamacare exchanges alone and will lose the money that is not received from offering back the old policies, and they will sue the federal government for forcing them to make the inexpensive plans available.

This will get much worse before it gets better.

The bottom line is this: Obama cannot unilaterally change a law by simply making a public decree. He has no authority under the Constitution to do so. The legislative branch makes laws, the executive branch enforces them. This is exactly why we have three branches of government, so that one person cannot change a law all by themselves whether it is because they do not like the law, or whether it is done to quell criticism over its unpopularity.

Should Obama allow the ones he promised to keep their plans? Yes, but by a Congressional vote to amend the law. And even then, the proposed amendment should allow the people to keep their plans permanently as he promised, not for only an additional year.

By giving certain groups exemptions from the law, Obama is breaking the law. Likewise, if these groups obey Obama and ignore the law as written, they are breaking the law as well.

Obama is not the only one to blame. Congress is allowing this to happen. By standing by and allowing Obama to eviscerate the Constitution, every Congressman and Senator are accessories after the fact.

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