Obama's New Imperial Decree
By Matthew Vadum
For purely partisan reasons, the Obama administration cynically unveiled extra-legal plans on the eve of Thanksgiving to unilaterally delay the launch of a website for small businesses to select plans through federal health care insurance exchanges.
It’s just the latest sleazy political move by the Community-Organizer-in-Chief to salvage his party’s fading electoral prospects by delaying at least some of the approaching tens of millions of health insurance policy cancellations until after the national vote next November.
It is also a sign of the Obama White House’s growing desperation over the political ramifications surrounding the grotesque failings of Obamacare. The administration said Wednesday it will unilaterally delay the upcoming launch of the online portal for small businesses. The website, which would allow small businesses to window-shop plans through the federal health insurance exchanges, won’t be ready for another year.
President Obama, whose political stature seems to shrink almost hourly, is feverishly trying to keep congressional Democrats aboard his sinking political ship. On Capitol Hill, Democratic lawmakers are now openly panicking at the damage the growing public backlash over Obamacare is going to inflict on their standings in the next Congress. Recent developments suggest that an electoral tsunami is developing that threatens to drown Democrats and give Republicans a healthy majority in the Senate.
The new one-year small business signup delay is just the latest in a series of unilaterally imposed deadline changes. One allows consumers to enroll until Dec. 23 — instead of Dec. 15 — to get coverage in time for the new year. The president also announced plans to push back the beginning of individual enrollment next year from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, or after the 2014 midterm congressional elections.
Obama has no legal authority to do this but he doesn’t care.
As Obama, a one-time part-time constitutional law lecturer ought to know, obstructing the implementation of a duly enacted federal law by refusing to enforce it in order to secure partisan political advantage almost certainly rises to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” as the Framers of the Constitution recognized when they wrote the presidential impeachment provision in Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution. Of course, hardly a day goes by in Obama’s increasingly imperial presidency without the Chief Executive creating new grounds for his own impeachment, and so this latest outrage is, unfortunately, barely newsworthy.
The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) that is being delayed was supposed to help small businesses by providing tax credits that could be used to defray the cost of premiums, according to the Washington Times.
“In the case of SHOP, the administration said that online tool won’t be ready until November 2014. Department of Health and Human Services officials said they are still allowing enrollment through agents, brokers and insurers in the federal marketplace.
Businesses with fewer than 50 employees, which are not required to offer coverage under the Affordable Care Act, can compare plans online starting Dec. 1, even if they have to rely on non-Internet applications to qualify for tax credits and gain coverage for employees, officials said.”
Republicans say this is the latest indication that Obamacare should be repealed outright.
“The president bit off more than he can chew with this health care law, and small businesses are now forced to bear the consequences,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio).
House Small Business Committee chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said that “another last-minute delay is just more proof that the law is unworkable and beyond the capabilities of the administration.” He added, “if small firms failed to provide services this frequently, they would be fired.”
Although Obamacare critics may be enjoying some well-deserved schadenfreude at the expense of the Obama administration as the bureaucratically bungled HealthCare.gov enrollment website launched Oct. 1 continues to malfunction, the president’s law is still helping to wreak havoc among health care consumers and cause upheaval in the health care industry, just as it was designed to do. No websites have to be functioning properly in order for Obamacare to collapse the system.
Government officials are still trying to fix the federal website, which is used in the 36 states that chose not to create their own health insurance exchanges. They say the website should be working for the “vast majority” of users in the individual market this weekend, but they’re probably guilty of wishful thinking at best, or of lying, at worst.
Health insurers have already dropped –or in Obama-speak, “transitioned”– at least five million Americans from their health plans despite President Obama’s oft-repeated promise that under Obamacare all Americans would be allowed to keep their current policies. And tens of millions more –perhaps more than 1 in 2 of all persons insured through their employers– will be pushed over the cliff next year as various provisions of the Affordable Care Act come into force.
Calculating left-wingers counted on being able to blame the insurance companies for the wave of policy cancellations, but so far the public isn’t buying it. Americans know President Obama lied over and over again about how Obamacare would work and his already-abysmal public approval ratings continue to fall. Too many people are experiencing real hardship as the Affordable Care Act causes their insurance to be canceled — and they know who to blame for their pain and suffering.
Stung by public anger and his rapidly plunging approval ratings, President Obama cried crocodile tears earlier this month as he tendered his now-infamous non-apology apology for lying about Americans being able to keep their plans.
Around that time he also proposed delaying the cancellation of existing health care insurance policies for one year. The House of Representatives responded quickly, approving Congressman Fred Upton’s (R-Mich.) quixotic legislation that would supposedly allow Americans to keep their insurance plans. No one knows how the statute would actually work in the real world.
The legal infrastructure of the health care insurance market has been changed. Policies were canceled because they don’t subsidize all the new services that Obamacare mandates. Those policies no longer exist for a reason. Insurers can’t just push a button and bring them back into existence.
Obama’s bizarre pronouncements reflect leftists’ disdain and ignorance of market processes, and the president’s determination to proceed in defiance of those processes. A locomotive going 60 miles per hour can’t stop instantly when brakes are activated. Nor can the Obamacare juggernaut which has so many moving parts spread out over such a wide area that locking up one part of the beast won’t stop it from continuing to barrel forward.
But Obama wants to have a Communist Chinese-style rubber-stamp Congress for the final two years of his presidency.
As Obama sees it, in order to accomplish this almost unprecedented feat he has to distance himself from the most visible damage that is being inflicted on society by his signature legislative achievement.
He has to pretend to try to mitigate the damage done by Obamacare.
Obama will do whatever he feels he has to do, including lying and demonizing Republicans, in order to gain total control over Congress.
Strap yourself in for 11 months of intensified class warfare, overblown rhetoric, and shameless mendacity.