“Remember when I said I’d kill you last? I lied,” so the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger line goes. Well, Obama flat out lied when he said you could keep your health insurance if you liked it. He knew it at the time too, because the PPACA (Obamacare) would make certain plans illegal. It is hard to imagine any scenario where you would be allowed to keep an illegal insurance policy. Yet that was the promise, and enough people bought it that we are seeing a massive backlash against the President.
So in response, the President has graciously granted the country a one year stay of execution. Insurance carriers will be allowed to continue offering the plans they already cancelled, for one year. Meaning that in one year’s time, they will have to cancel those plans again. It is purely coincidence that this move will push the day of reckoning just beyond the 2014 elections.
Not that the insurance companies have any incentive to reinstate these plans (other than avoiding federal harassment, of course). They already went through both the cost and consumer anger of cancelling the plans. They won’t want to go through that again. Really, as the new plans are more comprehensive and therefore more expensive, they stand to lose even more money by reinstating the old plans.
While all of this is true, it is not the most important thing to take away from Obama’s move. The most important thing is that it is an abuse of executive power, if not downright illegal. In the U.S., the power to make and change laws lies solely within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch: The House of Representatives and Senate. The President can’t contravene the plain text of a law, no matter how popular the decision may be.
Never mind that he has already done this once when delaying the employer mandate. This abuse of executive power comes just over a month after Republicans attempted to amend the law through their legitimate legislative power. At the time, the president attacked the attempt as inappropriate and ill conceived… unless, of course, he does it unilaterally.
On top of this, the House of Representatives is voting on a measure to amend Obamacare today. The measure, proposed by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), will also allow insurers to continue offering plans that existed before the beginning of the new year. The administration has already said that this is an attempt to sabotage Obamacare, and the White House has threatened to veto the bill. It seems “my way or the highway” is our new system of governance.
Lawmaking lies within the authority of the legislature to reduce the frequency of bad laws. It is much harder to get a large group of people with differing opinions to agree on a law. Generally, this means that laws will be properly debated and well thought out. When one man is allowed to decide what the law is, that is by definition a Dictatorship. A single person is fallible, as even President Obama readily admits about himself. If the president truly believes this, then he should allow Congress to do its job.
The Wall Street Journal, Transcript of Obama’s Remarks on Health-Care Change: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/11/14/full-text-of-obamas-remarks-on-health-care-change/
The Wall Street Journal, White House to Allow Insurers to Continue Canceled Health Plans: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303789604579197733759439274?mod=WSJ_hps_LEFTTopStories
Chicago Tribune, Obamacare Problems: President Unveils Fix on Healthcare: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-obamacare-20131114,0,2855729.story
Forbes, Latest Obamacare Enrollment Numbers Add Heat To House Vote On Friday: http://www.forbes.com/sites/danmunro/2013/11/13/latest-obamacare-enrollment-numbers-add-heat-to-house-vote-on-friday/
U.S. News, Is Obama Right to Restore Canceled Insurance Plans? http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2013/11/14/is-obama-right-to-restore-insurance-plans-cancelled-under-obamacare
The Washington Post, The White House’s Obamacare fix is About to Create a Big Mess: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/11/14/the-white-houses-obamacare-fix-is-about-to-create-a-big-mess/
The Washington Post, Everything You Need to Know About the Plans to ‘Fix’ Obamacare: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/11/14/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-plans-to-fix-obamacare/
The Washington Post, What the Obamacare Enrollment Numbers Really Tell Us: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/11/13/what-the-obamacare-enrollment-numbers-really-tell-us/
New Republic, Actually, You Can’t Just ‘Restore’ Canceled Health Plans: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115595/mary-landrieu-obamacare-bill-complicated-and-threatening