November 17, 2013

ANNALS OF INEPTITUDE: Obama’s ACA “Fix” Stuns DC, Nation.

Insurance companies and commissioners aren’t the only ones getting an immense headache from this “fix.” In the White House also people are coming to grips with the huge mess created by the President’s desperate maneuver, and in the Beltway wonks are panicking. The American health and insurance system, badly flawed as it is, is as complex a web of interests and institutions as you will find. It can’t be uprooted and overturned by casual comments and presidential decrees—not without serious side effects.

This miscalculation is sadly entirely consistent with the long series of miscalculations this President has made about health care going back all the way to 2010. Obama is in trouble because he did not fully understand the interplay of forces in the American health care system, and is trying to reform it via a clumsy set of fixes, off-sets, mandates and subsidies. Imposing a new and even less well-considered decree is not going to end his troubles.

Related: The Lawlessness of the ‘Fix:’ Insurance companies would be insane to offer plans that failed to comply with the ACA. “Let’s start with the basics. The president has no power to rewrite statutes — he is bereft of dictatorial power to legitimize what Congress has made a violation of law. …Not only is a president barred from writing or rewriting laws; he is required to enforce them as Congress has written them. The only exception is when he has a good-faith reason to believe they are unconstitutional, a claim Obama can hardly make about Obamacare while crowing that the Supreme Court has upheld it. . . . He would have gotten away with it a year ago. He won’t get away with it now.”

Also: Obamacare’s Creative, Or Illegal, Rule-Making. “The administration is already too reliant on creative rule-making to make the law work, such as their decision to delay the employer mandate even though it’s pretty firmly set into law. But now they’re reaching the limits of this strategy. There is always discretion in the implementation of any law, but that discretion is not infinite. . . . That’s leaving aside the civic problems with having an administration that simply waives by fiat any rule that gets in the way of their grand designs. President Obama, who used to be so sharply critical of George W. Bush’s use of executive power, is now pioneering his own expansive views of what the president may do. The White House seems to believe that they are allowed to shinny around any rule, as long as they wrote it. I’d argue that this is exactly backward: They have an especial duty to uphold the laws that they themselves constructed, because if they don’t, why should the rest of us go along?”

Why, indeed?

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