LA Times: Executive Fixes To Obamacare Are A Bad Idea
Gee, they’re just noticing this? On the other hand, it’s nice that one of the leading papers actually notices this, and the Editorial Board decides to write about it
The sprawling 2010 Affordable Care Act has proved so hard to implement…
Who woulda thunk that such a massive piece of legislation which no one who voted in the affirmative for actually read would be so difficult, especially since implementation was put in the hands of incompetents and ideologues?
…that the Obama administration has delayed or waived multiple provisions of the law in the hope of avoiding even more breakdowns and confusion. Last week the administration put off for another year the requirement that larger employers provide coverage for some or all of their workers. It’s also reportedly considering a longer delay in implementing the law’s minimum standards for insurance policies. Although the administration may have the right motives, its aggressive use of executive power to change deadlines and weaken requirements sets an unwelcome precedent. It also risks subverting some of the goals of the law the president is trying to protect.
The EB goes on to discuss the latest delay, which gives businesses with 50-99 employees a break through 2016 (but fails to note the politics involved….small steps for the media, small steps), then notes
The rationale? The administration decided it would be better to have a “gradual phase-in” than the deadline Congress ordered.
Congress didn’t “order” it: it was embedded in the law, which was passed by the Dem controlled Congress and signed into law by Mr. Obama. The EB also notes that this has nothing to do with tax policy
The tax code gives the administration great flexibility when implementing changes in tax law, as long as its actions are consistent with Congress’ dictates. The employer mandate isn’t really a tax policy, however; it’s part of the initiative to extend insurance coverage to more Americans. Rather than changing the mandate by fiat, President Obama should have asked Congress to fix the provision. On the other hand, the Republicans who control the House have shown no interest in improving the law; they just want to kill it. So it’s hard to fault Obama for not engaging in a fool’s errand.
The ACA specifically states that implementation date is 1/1/2014. Period. Tax law has no bearing. As far as Republicans go, why should Republicans help in the least? Not one Republican voted for it. The American People were dead set against it before passage, during passage, and after passage, and are still against it. The Obama admin. had three years to get it right. And it is easy to fault Obama: the law is the law. The White House even told us this
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 16, 2013
The EB does briefly note that the changes to the individual mandate go past the midterms, and ends with
Again, the many complex changes set in motion by the Affordable Care Act were guaranteed to result in a rocky transition. And with congressional Republicans cheering for the law to fail rather than trying to ensure its success, the administration doesn’t have a lot of good options for solving the implementation problems it has encountered. Still, it would be easier to defend its actions had it at least made an effort to work with Congress on the necessary fixes. And if it has to resort to bending deadlines and mandates, it should do so in a way that doesn’t undermine the law’s goals.
How does one defend lawless actions? Is this what the 4th Estate has come to, defending lawless actions if they are needed? And we should always ask the questions “how would the media respond were it a Republican in office making these decisions?”
Sadly, there is not much Republicans can do about it, as Senator Mike Lee pointed out. No one supposedly has standing to show true harm. Strange, though, that no one has thought to sue Obama for failing to uphold his constitutional duty to follow the Constitution. They can also petition the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of Obama’s decrees. Remember, the primary purpose of the Supreme Court is constitutionality.
Finally, though, the LA Times EB seems to be quietly noting that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, that a Republican president could do the same types of things, and Democrats would have no leg to stand on in complaining.