Monday, June 9, 2014

Bill Maher Tells A Guest That Obama Can't Change Laws Congress Passes Because He's Not A King

So why has he changed the Affordable Care Act 23 times without the approval of Congress?

by Larry Simons
June 9, 2014

On Friday's telecast of Real Time with Bill Maher, the hot topic was the illegal prisoner swap President Obama made on May 31 when he released five Taliban operatives for the return of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who had been in captivity since 2009 after his desertion.

Maher argued that the biggest threat to America is not these five men, but the fact that Guantanamo Bay is still open. Political commentator Nicolle Wallace chimes in and says to Maher, "Obama's had 6 years to close it".

Maher responds, "And why didn't he? Because Congress wouldn't let him". Unheard in the ensuing cross-talk was Wallace saying, "Well, he did this without Congress!". Good point. But it went unaddressed because it was apparently unheard.

After Anthony "Dick Pic" Weiner puts in his irrelevant two cents [because he IS irrelevant], Wallace reiterates, "Obama's had 6 years to figure it out". Maher responds, "What do you mean 'figure it out'? That's such bullshit and you know that's bullshit." Wallace responds, "He's been President for 6 years". Maher replies, "He's the President. He's not the king for 6 years! Congress passed a law that said he couldn't do it".

Obviously, the problem with Maher's statement is that he is implying Obama follows laws Congress passes. If this is true, why has Obama changed the Affordable Care Act law 23 times completely unilaterally, without uttering one word to Congress, let alone seeking their approval to do it?

The following is the complete list [so far] on how many times Obama changed the ACA law entirely by himself:

1. Medicare Advantage patch: The administration ordered an advance draw on funds from a Medicare bonus program in order to provide extra payments to Medicare Advantage plans, in an effort to temporarily forestall cuts in benefits and therefore delay early exodus of MA plans from the program. (April 19, 2011)

2. Employee reporting: The administration, contrary to the Obamacare legislation, instituted a one-year delay of the requirement that employers must report to their employees on their W-2 forms the full cost of their employer-provided health insurance. (January 1, 2012)

3. Subsidies may flow through federal exchanges: The IRS issued a rule that allows premium assistance tax credits to be available in federal exchanges although the law only specified that they would be available “through an Exchange established by the State under Section 1311.” (May 23, 2012)

4. Delaying a low-income plan: The administration delayed implementation of the Basic Health Program until 2015. It would have provided more-affordable health coverage for certain low-income individuals not eligible for Medicaid. (February 7, 2013)

5. Closing the high-risk pool: The administration decided to halt enrollment in transitional federal high-risk pools created by the law, blocking coverage for an estimated 40,000 new applicants, citing a lack of funds. The administration had money from a fund under Secretary Sebelius’s control to extend the pools, but instead used the money to pay for advertising for Obamacare enrollment and other purposes. (February 15, 2013)

6. Doubling allowed deductibles: Because some group health plans use more than one benefits administrator, plans are allowed to apply separate patient cost-sharing limits for one year to different services, such as doctor/hospital and prescription drugs, allowing maximum out-of-pocket costs to be twice as high as the law intended. (February 20, 2013)

7. Small businesses on hold: The administration has said that the federal exchanges for small businesses will not be ready by the 2014 statutory deadline, and instead delayed until 2015 the provision of SHOP (Small-Employer Health Option Program) that requires the exchanges to offer a choice of qualified health plans. (March 11, 2013)

8. Employer-mandate delay: By an administrative action that’s contrary to statutory language in the ACA, the reporting requirements for employers were delayed by one year. (July 2, 2013)

9. Self-attestation: Because of the difficulty of verifying income after the employer-reporting requirement was delayed, the administration decided it would allow “self-attestation” of income by applicants for health insurance in the exchanges. This was later partially retracted after congressional and public outcry over the likelihood of fraud. (July 15, 2013)

10. Delaying the online SHOP exchange: The administration first delayed for a month and later for a year until November 2014 the launch of the online insurance marketplace for small businesses. The exchange was originally scheduled to launch on October 1, 2013. (September 26, 2013) (November 27, 2013)

11. Congressional opt-out: The administration decided to offer employer contributions to members of Congress and their staffs when they purchase insurance on the exchanges created by the ACA, a subsidy the law doesn’t provide. (September 30, 2013)

12. Delaying the individual mandate: The administration changed the deadline for the individual mandate, by declaring that customers who have purchased insurance by March 31, 2014 will avoid the tax penalty. Previously, they would have had to purchase a plan by mid-February. (October 23, 2013)

13. Insurance companies may offer canceled plans: The administration announced that insurance companies may re-offer plans that previous regulations forced them to cancel. (November 14, 2013)

14. Exempting unions from reinsurance fee: The administration gave unions an exemption from the reinsurance fee (one of ObamaCare’s many new taxes). To make up for this exemption, non-exempt plans will have to pay a higher fee, which will likely be passed onto consumers in the form of higher premiums and deductibles. (December 2, 2013)

15. Extending Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan: The administration extended the federal high risk pool until January 31, 2014 and again until March 15, 2014, and again until April 30, 2014 to prevent a coverage gap for the most vulnerable. The plans were scheduled to expire on December 31, but were extended because it has been impossible for some to sign up for new coverage on (December 12, 2013) (January 14, 2014) (March 14, 2014)

16. Expanding hardship waiver to those with canceled plans: The administration expanded the hardship waiver, which excludes people from the individual mandate and allows some to purchase catastrophic health insurance, to people who have had their plans canceled because of ObamaCare regulations. The administration later extended this waiver until October 1, 2016. (December 19, 2013) (March 5, 2014)

17. Equal employer coverage delayed: Tax officials will not be enforcing in 2014 the mandate requiring employers to offer equal coverage to all their employees. This provision of the law was supposed to go into effect in 2010, but IRS officials have “yet to issue regulations for employers to follow.” (January 18, 2014)

18. Employer-mandate delayed again: The administration delayed for an additional year provisions of the employer mandate, postponing enforcement of the requirement for medium-size employers until 2016 and relaxing some requirements for larger employers. Businesses with 100 or more employees must offer coverage to 70% of their full-time employees in 2015 and 95% in 2016 and beyond. (February 10, 2014)

19. Extending subsidies to non-exchange plans: The administration released a bulletin through CMS extending subsidies to individuals who purchased health insurance plans outside of the federal or state exchanges. The bulletin also requires retroactive coverage and subsidies for individuals from the date they applied on the marketplace rather than the date they actually enrolled in a plan. CRS issued a memo discussing the legality of these subsidies. (February 27, 2014)

20. Non-compliant health plans get two year extension: The administration pushed back the deadline by two years that requires health insurers to cancel plans that are not compliant with ObamaCare’s mandates. These “illegal” plans may now be offered until 2017. This extension will prevent a wave cancellation notices from going out before the 2014 midterm elections. (March 5, 2014)

21. Delaying the sign-up deadline: The administration delayed until mid-April the March 31 deadline to sign up for insurance. Applicants simply need to check a box on their application to qualify for this extended sign-up period. (March 26, 2014)

22. Canceling Medicare Advantage cuts: The administration canceled scheduled cuts to Medicare Advantage. The ACA calls for $200 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage over 10 years. (April 7, 2014)

23. More Funds for Insurer Bailout:  The administration said it will supplement risk corridor payments to health insurance plans with “other sources of funding” if the higher risk profile of enrollees means the plans would lose money. (May 16, 2014)

Supporters of the President will claim that Obama didn't "change" the law, he simply tweaked it because , after all, it's a new law and no law is perfect when it is written. Bullshit. Obama signed the ACA into law in March 2010. He signed it, meaning it is his duty as President to "...take care that the laws be faithfully executed" according to Article II, Section III of the U.S. Constitution. This means he is to execute a law regardless if he likes the law. If a provision needs to be altered or removed from a law, it has to be voted on by Congress. Obama changed the health care law 23 times unilaterally, completely ignoring Congress.

Maher is delusional if he believes that Obama has never [not once] ignored Congress and neglected to seek their approval when it came to changing a law or abiding by a provision within the law itself [as in the prisoner swap case, where Obama violated federal law by not giving Congress a 30-day notice before the prisoner transfer].

Obama supporters will claim, "yes, but Obama didn't 'change' the law itself on Obamacare, he simply changed a provision". Every law consists of all its parts. Even changing a provision to a law is changing the law itself.

It is quite odd that Maher defended President Obama by sarcastically using the one descriptive title that he [Maher] believes his political opponents are insisting Obama must be [a King], when that is the most accurate title for his dictatorial actions.

Watch the clip here

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